A host of Italian New Year's Eve celebrations will ensure that 2013 is a lucky, prosperous year. John Bensalhia looks ahead to some of the highlights...
Burning of the Midnight Statue
One of the notable traditions of the New Year's Eve festival in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, is that of the burning of Vecchione – this is a large statue which has been created by a local artist. The midnight burning is said to symbolise the goodbye to the outgoing year. This year's statue has been created by artists Luciano Paselli and Matteo Tommaso Petri. In addition to the ritual midnight burning, there will be musical sets from DJ Len of the Bronson Club of Madonna dell'Albero and Serge Pizzorno of British rock band Kasabian, who will play a selection of songs.
The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky is always that bit more magical during the festive season, and with that in mind, this is being performed between 27th December 2012 and 2nd January 2013 at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples.
The performance will take place on New Year's Eve as well, providing the audience with renditions of the Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, Trepak and Waltz Of The Flowers. Choreography is provided by Luciano Cannito, artistic director of Ballet of the Teatro Massimo of Palermo. Students of the School of Dance of Teatro di San Carlo will perform.
All White On The Night
At the Piazza San Marco, Venice, a carnival theme will be coming to the area. Heralding the 2013 carnival (taking place on 26th January 2013), the forthcoming New Year's Eve celebration will introduce the carnival flavour through fireworks, music and a midnight toast.
The celebration is called White Venice 2013 – guests are encouraged to go with the dress code of white party. A DJ and live music performances will make up the entertainment, along with special lights and projections.
One of the most commonly known New Year's Eve gatherings takes place in Rome – it is, of course, the countdown of Piazza del Popolo, a free event that sees large crowds congregate to welcome in the new year.
As ever, there will be a myriad of entertainment choices, including diverse styles of music from rock to classical; performances and fireworks. And the party does not stop at midnight – the next day, all ages can enjoy more festivities, with appearances from masked revellers, clowns and acrobats.
For those of you who enjoy a more sedate countdown to the new year, a classical concert could be the choice for you. This December 31st, the Teatro La Fenice will play host to conductor John Eliot Gardiner, along with the orchestra and chorus of Teatro La Fenice.
They will perform a number of extracts from composers such as Rossini (Le Siege de Corinthe) and Verdi (La Traviata, Rigoletto and Nabucco).
This year's edition of Umbria Jazz Winter is a very special one. It celebrates its 20th edition, and will do so in fine style during late December 2012 and early January 2013.
As usual, the annual jazz festival will comprise a mixture of indoor and outdoor concerts boasting an eclectic line-up of jazz musicians and singers. Venues include Palazzo Soliano, Teatro Mancinelli and Ristorante San Francesco (which is the destination for the New Year's Eve jazz dinner).
This year's line-up includes Gregory Porter, Kurt Elling, Dee Alexander and Gino Paoli, Paula and Jacques Morelenbaum and Dr Bobby Jones and the Nashville Gospel Superchoir. In addition to the New Year's Eve festivities, there will be the opportunity for quiet reflection at the Mass For Peace on New Year's Day.
The World's Longest New Year's Eve
That's the promise in Rimini! Having started on 1st December, Rimini will be celebrating New Year's Eve with a number of open-air stages boasting shows, concerts and musical performances until 6th January 2013. New Year's Eve itself will boast some memorable celebrations, including fireworks over the sea at midnight and a musical performance from cult Italian band Elio e le Storie Tese. Elsewhere in Rimini, there will be a New Year's Eve disco at Rimini Marina Centro and a New Year's Eve party at Circle Milleluci.
In Turin, the Piazza San Carlo will celebrate this year's New Year's Eve with a distinctly French flavour. Celebrating its ties to France, Turin's New Year's concert will feature jazz accordionist Richard Galliano, who will play a medley of Edith Piaf songs and a rendition of the Marseillaise.
A notable centrepiece of the Turin New Year's Eve celebrations will be a show of the story of Turin which will look back at notable moments from the 1940s through to the present day, using the mediums of video, music, pictures and animation. There will also be a parade featuring bagpipes and percussion and a music set from a DJ.