martedì 17 dicembre 2013

New Years in Florence

by Louisa Loring

Florence’s size has always been one of the reasons it has made the city a favorite for tourists who can’t stay away for too long.  You can practically see the entire city on foot and never feel like you have exhausted your options because every corner you turn around brings a new surprise.  Florence is a wonderful city to celebrate the New Year or Capodanno in Italian for just this reason.  It is small enough that you can make it to many different events and parties yet big enough to be packed with an array of options to fit anyone’s likings.  There is music of every type, bars and clubs open late into the night, restaurants serving up their finest dishes and of course, the star event of the night, the big countdown followed by a brindisi (toast) with a glass of prosecco and good wishes to friends and family.

Cotechino e lenticchie
To start the evening off, many of Florence’s finest restaurants will be open to celebrate the New Year.  It is tradition to serve what is called Cotechino e Lenticchie, which is a savory pork sausage served in a bed of lentils.  The sausage is meant to symbolize abundance while the lentils are said to bring good luck and prosperity.  The meal is then followed with dried fruits and grapes because it is said that grapes will ensure that those at the table will be wise spenders of their money in the year to come.  Thus, it is only appropriate to do as the Italians do and take part in this culinary tradition, whether you are dining out or having your own New Year’s party with friends.  If you want to try your hand at this dish, try this recipe, which proves to be simply with few ingredients but full of flavor. 

Although there are no official fireworks on New Years Eve, many venues and hotels will set off their own at midnight to make for a brilliantly lit sky. Best places to see these fireworks are any place Lungarno, Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vecchio or any of the other bridges.  If you are feeling adventuresome, gaining some height always helps so make the trek up to Piazzale Michelangelo.  Perhaps one of the arguably best views in Florence is from the rooftop of the bar and restaurant SE.STO atop Westin Excelsoir hotel.  Totally extravagant but with a fixed New Year’s Menu and view that will not have you leaving disappointed.

Before you put your dancing shoes on and head out to one of Florence’s many music venues and dance clubs, you can ease into the night by stopping by to hear music from one of the many performers in various piazzas throughout the city center such as Piazza della Signoria or Piazza della Repubblica before the clock chimes midnight.  Piazza della Stazione is probably the most popular of all; there have always been great musical performers in the past and thus, it draws crowds of people so be sure to get there early.

If you are looking to have a late night out full of dancing, clubs and dance bars such as Tenax, which is the biggest of them all with multiple floors, Tabasco Disco Bar, and Montecarla, are the places to check out but be sure to get tickets in advance because they fill up quickly.  On your way home after a long evening, stop by one of the secret bakeries where you can get a slice of freshly baked pizza or a steaming pastry to re-energize and get you home to write that New Year’s resolution list. 

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