Monday, January 14, 2013

New Years in Naples

We had heard so much about the New Years Eve fireworks in Naples that we wanted to experience it for ourselves before we left. It is said that Naples has one of the best fireworks displays in the world as there are no organized fireworks presentations, but rather people buy their own fireworks and head to their roofs or windows to show them off. And not just some people, but almost everybody. From high on a roof or balcony you can see hundreds of fireworks from the islands of Capri, Ischia, Procida, the city of Naples, and from Pozzuoli, which is where we were spending our night. In total, the fireworks last approximately 30 minutes (though you can hear some people setting them off all night and into daylight the next morning).

Below is a short video from our vantage point

A little taste... this was everywhere you turned. 
Fireworks are popular with Neapolitans throughout the year as they set them off of their roofs for any occasion, whether it's a birthday, anniversary, a holiday, or hey- it's Thursday! Of course, this type of recklessness comes at a price. While many cities in Italy have banned the use of personal fireworks, Naples holds onto their traditions and each year hundreds of Neapolitans are injured. This year two people were killed and 361 people were injured from their fireworks (last year two people were killed and 561 were injured). On the roof below us we witnessed fireworks gone awry as they were shooting sideways and the family was ducking below walls to avoid them. Yikes!

People on the roof below us setting off fireworks.

There is one other old tradition that is practiced in Naples on New Years Eve. The Neapolitans believe that when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve they are to get rid of anything they don't want to carry into the new year. While this is a good train of thought, the Neapolitans throw things they don't want out of their windows into the streets, no matter how big. People have actually been injured and even killed because small ovens and refrigerators were flying down from above and hitting them. The streets in the downtown area become so littered with everyone's old stuff that cars cannot move for hours, since seemingly everyone has something they want to get rid of. If you are ever in Naples on New Years Eve either go to an open plaza, a roof, or stay inside!

Our somewhat safer contribution to the window tradition! 
For cenone (the Italian word for New Year's Eve dinner) Ashley and I cooked an Italian feast consisting of caprese, prosciutto, and cheese for appetizers, and continuing with Pizzette alla Melanzane (Eggplant balls) Pesto alla Genovese (Pesto Pasta), Spaghetti Tradizionale (traditional spaghetti dish consisting of oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt), Penne Siciliana (Penne with eggplant, meat, and tomato sauce), and a variety of cannoli for dessert. And let's not forget the variety of wine and champagne we drank!

Martin, Sera, Kamalan, Ashley, baby Ava, me, Jon

The NYE chefs!
We can honestly say that we have never been so close to fireworks displays before and have never seen anything like what we saw that night. It was truly a remarkable scene having fireworks shooting towards the sky from nearby windows and roofs all the way out to the islands. We are thrilled that we made the decision to stay in Naples for New Years. While we didn't throw anything out of the windows or light up our own fireworks, we were still able to partake in one of Naples' many traditions simply by being present and taking in the experience!


  1. I could not stop laughing when I was reading this blog! Why am I not surprised that Naples would not have an organized fireworks presentation! I watched the short video and I have to say the fireworks were gorgeous! It's unbelievable that the people in Naples actually set off their own fireworks from their roofs or balconies! (Cher, I actually heard you say OMG at the end of the video! It was so funny!) But I have to say the funniest thing when I read this blog was when you described what the people do when they get rid of their stuff for the New Year! WOW! Throwing refrigerators and ovens out the window!! No wonder why people get hurt! (which of course is not funny). I can't even imagine anyone doing that in the U.S.!! The Neopolitans certainly beat to a different drum!! And all that yummy, delicious food looked so scrumptious! (My mouth was watering!) It looks like you guys had a wonderful time and so much fun on New Years Eve with your friends! This was definitely a very different experience and something I know you will never forget!

  2. I think you need to come to Okinawa and cook for me. I am drooling.

  3. Hi, did you rent a place in Pozzuoli or are you living there? We are searching for a hotel to view the fireworks without leaving the room (we have a 4,8 year old). Grazie! -Laura

    1. Hi Laura. We were living there at the time and were up on the roof of our friends' building. Don't know of any hotels in Pozzuoli to view the fireworks as we never had to stay in. But I imagine that as long as you have a view of the sea (in Pozzuoli, Naples, or any of the islands) you'll be able to get a good view of the fireworks. Have fun!