'Buon anno" sounds pretty terrific when everyone in Florence is saying it. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are both celebrated in Florence, and the entire two weeks (or more) surrounding Christmas and New Year's is one continuous 'festa' (party) and with everyone walking.
On New Year's Eve, I went to my friends' apartment for a lovely, lovingly-prepared, and luxurious early dinner -- six of us laughing and eating -- pretty terrific. Then, about 10:30p.m. or so a couple of my friends walked me home through the party-filled streets of Florence. Groups of families, including kids and dogs, of teen-agers, of lovers were wandering and enjoying and awaiting the new year. Many people (not always only the young folks, either) were twinkling themselves, by wearing tiaras or glasses or hats that had a life of their own. And everyone, or almost everyone, had a drink in his or her hand. The very good news is that no one was driving (except taxis). I found out that, this being Italy, each piazza would be hosting a free live concert after midnight, so the offerings were plentiful and varied -- from classical to rock and everything else, I guess. I did hear loud music coming from Piazza de Santa Maria Novella, which is quite a few blocks away, for most of the night -- it was more on the 'rock' end than on the 'classical' end. Oh, well.
And New Year's Day did start off quietly, and even stayed that way, mostly. Even the street vendors, who have worked every day except Christmas Day or Santa Stephano (Dec. 26) Day, took off both Jan. 1st, and it was a treat to see the rarely-empty streets around San Lorenzo. I ventured out for a short stroll and found a lot of people who were also just strolling around; most of them, I think, ended up with me in the line to enter the small neighborhood grocery. There are certainly a lot of people in the streets of Florence for the holiday season, more than I have seen since about the beginning of November. Weaving through crowds, while navigating the uneven cobblestones or potholes or construction zones is certainly an art form! Fortunately, we can walk in the streets in most of the center of Florence, and I find myself a bit annoyed whenever a car decides to share my street. Oh, Italy!