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Surprising New Year’s Traditions in Italy

Happy New Year! This is the perfect time to celebrate the year you’ve been through and reflect on all the beautiful things that have happened, the lessons you’ve learned, and the people you’ve met. Ringing in the new year with friends and family is a feeling like no other, and Italians definitely know how to do it. We’ve put together an article about New Year’s traditions in Italy that will have you planning to spend your holidays there!

New Year's Traditions in Italy : Glass Flutes of champagne on a gold background with white gifts and gold ribbons

New Year’s Traditions in Italy: Events and Festivals

When it comes to New Year, no matter where you find yourself in Italy, a celebration or festival is always just around the corner. From fireworks with prosecco in Rome to Estense Castle in Ferrara with a Renaissance meal, the spirited nature of the Italian people is incredible to behold. 

If you’re more into the dancing scene, consider Capri. A glitz and glamour spot at Piazzetta that lasts all night long. Some call this event a “hidden gem,” the Umbria Jazz Festival in Orvieto, an adorable town atop a mountain. A city famous for its wines that will pair excellently with the open-air concert vibe of the entire city. Everything from restaurants to churches become temporary stages for all of December to enjoy the smooth jazz heard throughout the streets for the all-night grand-finale concert on New Years Eve. 

If the above doesn’t sound like your scene and you would prefer something a bit more secluded with a romantic atmosphere, might we suggest Naples. Naples has a line of charming restaurants right along the sealine to overlook Mount Vesuvius and Capri Island. Not only do you get to enjoy the most delicious foods, but you’ll also find a treat with the stunning view of the fireworks display to round out your perfect evening.

New Year's Traditions in Italy : Mardi Gras Mask with Feathers with Champagne Flutes and gold strong lights

Red Undergarments and why you need them in Italy

Who doesn’t want to add a little luck as you ring in the New Year? Now you too can participate in a fun tradition celebrated throughout Italy? Walking among the streets, you’ll find red undergarments on display. It’s common to wear them leading up to the new year, however, for extra luck only wear them on December 31st. To observe an even older tradition, be sure to throw them out right away the next day and then wait for your luck to be abundant. 

New Year’s Traditions in Italy: Gifts

Look no further when finding the perfect gift to send your acquaintances in Italy. At Gift Baskets Overseas, there’s no shortage of beautiful gifts to choose from. Holidays are a big deal in Italy, as any reason to break out the champagne and celebrate is one worth taking time off of work for. New Years is no exception and brought in with family, fireworks and fun. For those you know who have trouble staying up the night, a gift basket full of coffee and chocolate will be a perfect, not to mention delicious, way to greet the new year.

Italians are known for their love of coffee, specifically espresso; you’ll simply be adding another reason for them to love you! One can never have enough to drink, so two bottles of wine is always a safe option if you’re unsure. Besides coffee, the next beverage Italians absolutely love indulging in is a quality glass of wine to pair with their meal. However, with our 24/7 customer service always at the ready to help, you’ll be ordering the perfect gift for them with ease. 

New Year's Traditions in Italy : A bouquet of vegetables including garlic, onions, parsley, and tomatoes

New Year’s Traditions in Italy: Why Risotto? And a Great Recipe

When invited to an Italian night out, make sure to show up with an empty stomach and a hearty appetite to enjoy all of the delicious dishes. You can expect to see a table full of food from dates and figs smothered in honey to lentils with pork sausages. The most traditional, and luckiest, dish you’ll see is risotto if you’re in Piedmont. There, rice represents coins, but if you’re in another part of Italy, you may be greeted with lentils or raisins. Raisins are an extra boost of good luck and lentils symbolize wealth. A red undergarment is said to bring luck, but a table of food is said to represent abundance for the new year. 

Champagne Risotto

Servings: 2 dinner portions

  • 2 big chopped shallots (about 1/3 cup)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (separated)
  • 2 big garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. chopped mixed mushrooms (a generous cup of cooked mushrooms)
  • 1 cup of Champagne
  • 32 oz. chicken stock, unsalted
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, split
  • 1 cup Arborio rice, cooked
  • 1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Step 1: Add olive oil and 2 tbsp butter to a heavy-bottomed medium-size (approximately 6 quarts) saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic right away and stir for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and browning around the edges.
  • Step 2: Stir in the rice with the shallots and garlic for approximately 30 seconds, or until all rice grains are covered with oil. Allow 3 minutes for the rice to toast in the pan, stirring constantly.
  • Step 3: Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sauté pan and melt. Season the butter with salt and pepper before adding the mushrooms. Set aside after cooking until gently sautéed.
  • Step 4: Warm chicken stock and 1/2 cup Champagne in a second saucepan (approximately 4 quarts) over medium-low heat. To infuse the stock, add roughly 4 whole sprigs of thyme.
  • Step 5: Reduce the heat to medium and add the champagne to the rice mixture. Add the mushrooms that have been sautéed. Stir for 2–3 minutes, or until the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Step 6: Pour 1/2 cup of hot chicken stock over the rice with a ladle. Stir the mixture regularly, and add another 1/2 cup of stock every time the stock is almost completely absorbed. Continue to whisk and add stock until the rice is creamy but still has a bite to it. (It’s possible that you won’t need all of the stock.) Once the rice has been added, the total cooking time should not exceed 25 minutes. To keep the rice somewhat creamy, remove it from the heat before the last ladle of stock is completely absorbed.
  • Step 7: Turn off the heat. Combine the reserved thyme (leaves only) and Parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl. Continue to whisk until all of the cheese has melted. If preferred, season with a little salt and white pepper. You shouldn’t need much salt, if any at all.
  • Step 8: Garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve in flat dishes.

Good food, great fun, and new memories are lovely side effects of any adventure in Italy, no matter where you go. New Years is the best time to spend with family and friends and wish them well with the perfect gift. We hope you learned a bit of Italy’s lovely tradition and how they celebrate the New Year. We’re curious to see if you’re going to adopt any of these New Year’s traditions in Italy into your New Year. 

You’re ready to celebrate January 1st in Italy! Now what?