Self exile was our New Year’s Eve theme this year. I know it sounds grim but we had a reason. That reason was 4am, the time we had to get up for our New Year’s Day plans. Normally we pick NYE over New Year’s Day, and make January first a lazy day of football and cleaning up pine needles. Because we had to get up and go in the late night/early morning, we made NYE the lazy day since New Year’s Day was going to be awesome.
At least we tried to make NYE seem like a dull evening. We ate early, watched Netflix, answered emails, and went to bed early trying to ignore the sporatic pops outside and feelings of lameness. We turned out the lights and tried to will ourselves to sleep. We watched more Netflix. I tried re-reading an old e-book. My husband caught up with his twitter feed. But it wasn’t happening, the paired anxiety of having to wake up at 4am with really, really wanting to go outside, did not encourage snoozing.
Around 11:45 the pops and snaps turned to booms. Then the booms became bams. Then we were surrounded, with sounds ricocheting off glass and stucco from one building to the next. Oddly it sounded like a sonic thumping combination of popcorn and gunshots. If I didn’t know better I would have thought war broke out, Band of Brothers kept springing to mind.
And the light! Even if we had managed to ignore the sounds vibrating our windows, our once dark room now had a sparkly candle lit quality from the combined flashes.
Sleep was for the dead, we went to the window. Seeing fireworks wasn’t surprising. Obviously, we expected to see fireworks, and probably close by. The surprise was seeing no less than eight displays at the same time from our bedroom window. Every small piazza in eyesight had an elaborate display rapidly firing off. I gathered my wits long enough to snap a few phone pics, but they don’t really do it justice.
We knew Rome was a fun place on NYE, we knew that fireworks were probably involved. We didn’t know that personal fireworks displays on just about every street corner is the local tradition. Fireworks banging off in the darkness now and then had become part of the background noise in the past few weeks. We naively thought they just liked their fireworks. It turns out they were merely practicing.
The larger displays were over by 12:30, and we went back to bed. But smaller batches kept whistling and snapping. The echoing continued, and we wondered how this was legal. It’s not, and there has been a rather aggressive campaign that is aiming to curb use. Apparently this year was modest. It didn’t sound modest.
Eventually sleep won, and we got our precious 90 minutes before the alarm went off.
Later on, the light of day revealed the source of the noise.
Apparently the thing to do is light your fireworks near something public, and run. Keeping yourself away from the scene of the crime incase the polizia are nearby. The result was piles cardboard cones littering the sidewalks.
Next time, we’ll choose NYE over New Year’s Day. I have a feeling our little pocket was just a sample. Expect that post in 2015.
Next post is about what inspired us to be up so early. I know you’re just burning for answers.
If you care to keep tabs on my rambling, follow me on facebook here, or on twitter @100weeksinrome. I broadcast post updates there, and sometimes post extra stuff too.