New Year celebrations in Tuscany are all about fireworks and feasting and getting together with friends and family. Every city and most towns put on a fireworks display, and concerts – from jazz to opera – are held in the piazzas. And, as with everything in the region, it’s all part of an old tradition.
The joy of welcoming in a new year is that you get to make a fresh start, but in order to do that properly you need to chase the old year away. And what better way to do that than by scaring it away with lots of noise?! Hence the fireworks and the music, which were once believed to chase away bad spirits – though now, of course, people mainly just do it for fun.
In southern Italy people used to throw out old pots and pans on New Year’s Eve, symbolically throwing out the old year and scaring it away at the same time. And, to bring them extra luck, they wore red underwear over the festive period – men as well as the women – though this tradition has largely died out. Still, it explains why we see so many red undies in the shops at this time of year.
One tradition in no danger of dying out in Tuscany is a New Year’s feast featuring cotechino, a big tasty pork sausage, served with a generous dish of delicious lentils. The more lentils the better, since they’re believed to bring you wealth. Gifts of dried fruits, like figs and dates, wrapped in laurel leaves, are also traditional.
As is a glass of chilled prosecco and a toast among friends. Salute! May we wish all our clients Buon Anno!
Best wishes for 2017 from your Discover Tuscany team!