Today, Old Don Tano is gonna provide you with all the details about what you can (and should) do to celebrate the upcoming New Year’s Eve Palermo Festivities for 2020.
Here in Palermo, we just can’t wait to participate in celebrations, so starting from December first, the question that weighs most heavily on every Sicilian’s mind for New Year’s Eve is «Cosa faremo» (What are we gonna do) to celebrate New Year’s Eve?
And as the days tick by and New Year’s Eve grows closer, the state of every Sicilian’s anxiety grows. At the same time, however — for some unexplainable reason — the average Sicilian manages to wait until the last day (the 30th of December) to finally decide where to go and what to do. Figurati!
During the two suddenly frantic days before St. Sylvester’s Day (December 31st), the hunt for the last tickets left begins. This is a time when many turn to friends “in high places” to be admitted to an outstanding party or restaurant dinner party. And they know perfectly well they could have bought the tickets easily only two or three days earlier.
As always, wherever you go, a few knotty problems always arise. Here, for some reason, clubs, restaurants, party planners and other event promoters don’t take advantage of the Internet to do promotions.
Perhaps you’ll see one here or there on Facebook posts in Italian, but almost none mention how to get your tickets. In Palermo, it’s all done by word of mouth save for the official event organized each year by the Municipality of Palermo which takes place in one of the city’s main public squares.
👉 For you, as a tourist arriving from abroad this means: If you want to visit the city during Christmastime and enjoy the New Year’s Eve Celebration, you’ll have a hard time finding something to do save for attending the aforementioned event organized the Municipality, or possibly, some touristy restaurant that serves mediocre food.
The Municipality of Palermo event is open to all and there’s no charge to attend. Many famous, as well as emerging Italian singers, accompany the audience right up to midnight when the amazing firework show welcomes the arrival of 2020.
Aside from the fireworks show, etc. you may find it hard to know what to do, but fortunately for you, old Don Tano is here to help you find your way around and choose what to do while you’re here in Palermo.
The 5 Best Things to Do in Palermo on Saint Sylvester’s Day 2020
1. The Celebration in Giulio Cesare Square
First of all, the most coming thing. That would be the vast square Giulio Cesare (Piazza Giulio Cesare). Every year the holds just about its biggest celebration. And if you book early, you can 👉enjoy a nearby bed and breakfast room with “camera matrimoniale” (double bed), for very attractive prices. Then the events presented by the Municipality of Palermo are close by.
After the fireworks show has ended not everyone has a lot of people don’t have a party waiting, so these people — people of all ages — families with children, teenagers, middle-aged people, and many single guys and gals, all head for Old Town and the New City Center.
Unfortunately, I recommend the party locales just mentioned only if you can’t find any other options. I’m pretty sure you come to Sicily to enjoy yourself. While having foreigners as guests for New Year’s Eve might be fun for locals, it’s not something I’d recommend to visitors the festivities in Old Town and the New City Center.
Unless you’re deep into the study of Italian and want to have a genuine Italian experience, I don’t think you’re gonna get much fun out of listening to a lot of people talking in a language you can’t understand.
2. Cenone di Capodanno (New Year’s Eve Dinner)
The Cenone is a must in Italy for the New Year’s Eve. It’s not like a Christmas lunch when the main goal of the locals seems to kill themselves with an intestinal explosion. The feature of this dinner s the wine.
Not all restaurants organize a New Year’s Eve dinner for la Notte di San Silvestro. In fact, the majority remain closed because so many locals prefer their own private dinners among friends. Having said that, many restaurants do set up a special cenone.
Two types of cenones:
- The classic Cenone. Here a restaurant offers a set menu at a fixed price with unlimited wine. This will normally cost each diner between €30 to €50 (somewhere between $35 to $60).
- The Veglione (Dinner and a party) This dinner comes with a set menu as above and after a toast to midnight, the restaurant turns into a nightclub with dance music. This dine and dance evening will cost around €70 to €80 (Approximately $80 to $115) per person.
While the cost may not seem too extravagant, these places seldom offer more than mediocre dinners. Perhaps understandably, many restaurateurs who have little interest in encouraging new visitors.
They choose rather to increase their cash register receipts as much as possible, knowing their patrons will be foreigners who are unlikely to return and certainly will never become regular customers.
Cenone is a must in the whole Belpaese, but it’s not easy to find a place that really serves good food around the end of each year.
3. Hire a local cook/bartender
Without a doubt, this is the best way to enjoy great food and have fun in Sicily, especially if you plan to rent an apartment and spend a little time here. You can hire a local cook who will prepare dinner right in your residence.
You’ll have not only the opportunity to try the best dishes of the variegated Sicilian cuisine but you’ll become immersed in a total culinary experience while the chef prepares a dinner cooks right in front of you (if you want to watch). In the morning you may accompany your cook out to the historic street markets for the daily shopping while your cook explains the secrets of Sicilian cuisine.
This sort of service can cost some €200 to €300 (Around $230-$350) but it’s well worth the expense.
If you come together with a group, for the same price of Cenone you’ll have a local cook in your apartment and…you’ll return home after having lived an unforgettable experience. Priceless!
You can also have a bartender who will prepare original Italian cocktails from Negroni to Aperol Spritz. Maggie Hoffman says a Spritz is a bit more adult than a soda but still sweet and friendly.
These services run about €150. Alcohol not included of course.
If there’s any drawback to having private cooks and bartenders it would be that they’re hard to find since locals hire most if not all of them well in advance. If you want to hire a cook, a bartender (or both), send an email to Old Don Tano (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll give you some contacts.
If you can afford it, the best way to enjoy real Sicilian food on New Year’s Eve is the in-house cook. You’ll enjoy real Sicilian food on New Year’s Eve, as well as enjoying a fun culinary experience with a real cook preparing a sumptuous repast just for you and your guests. What a great Saint Sylvester evening, especially for a group. Great.
4. After-dinner party
For young locals especially, dancing is the definite epilogue to a long New Year’s Eve night on the town. They’re famous for their wild parties, with plenty of fun and plenty of alcohol to wash it down.
These parties, at least the organized parties, are generally divided into age and type. That means there are parties for teenagers, parties for 20 to 25 years old, parties for 25 to 32 years, and parties for 32 to 45 years old.
You’d have a hard time finding a 30-year-old dancing with 20-year-old students. And you wouldn’t see stylish people dancing with rockers. Palermo is a city where different kinds don’t mix well at all.
But no matter who you are, don’t despair. Thee are parties for everyone and the only drawback is that if you’re not a local it’s not easy finding the right party. Besides, it’s not like in other European cities where many clubs become famous but also plan the parties.
As I already mentioned, everything works with word of mouth and the only way to learn about the best parties is by talking with some of the locals. If you really intend to attend a party, just drop me an email at (email@example.com) and I’ll try to propose some solutions based on your needs.
Parties in Palermo are really lots of fun but it’s hard to learn the protocol here. It’s hard to find the best parties for you and your group, and even harder to get a ticket on time. If you hope to get in some dancing on New Year’s Eve, just email me at (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll give you all the details I can.
Barhopping or pub crawling may sound a bit desperate but I can assure you that it’s anything but boring.
A lot of bars in the Old Town and downtown as well remain open until early morning and jammed with thousands of people who didn’t make it to any party and with that number of people who prefer to raise their elbows for another while socializing with their neighbor next to them.
Special Events and Parties for the New Year’s Eve to Welcome 2020
I’ve already told you that Sicilians are wait-till-the-last-minute people.
Organizers are — well, not very well organized — they’re not at all market-oriented somehow always delay Promotions until the very last second. All the above applies equally to our great New Year’s Eve Promotions.
As I write this blog, I’m trying to gather together all the events as I learn the details that I learn as I pick the brains of the local organizers around town. I’m gonna do my best to update this blog daily with every bit of new information as anything pops up.
But before we go any further, I want you to bear in mind a couple of things
- For any information and booking, you’ll need to contact the organizers directly.
- From Christmas onward, you’re unlikely to be able to find anything available.
- You have to pay in advance to book any event.
I have to stress that Wearepalermo.com is in no way tied to any of the upcoming events that I’m gonna list here. For anything you need or want that’s related to an event, you have to direct your inquiries to directly to the organizers of the event.
Here is a list of events that have been scheduled for this year:
1. Capodanno 2020 al Cantavespri — “The Great Gatsby” Party
Host: Cantavespri Vini e Vinilli
Where: Cantavespri Vini e Vinili, Vicolo Valguarnera, 8
See the event on Facebook
The Cantavespri is a popular club located in the heart of Old Town. Ask anyone about a great place to party and they’re gonna tell you it’s the Cantavespri. This hotspot also has the added convenience of being near the city center and many hotels.
Every year organizers do their best to make the New Year’s Eve party an event that will meet anyone’s expectations, be they the locals or visitors. So far Cantavespri has never disappointed.
To celebrate New Year’s Eve this year, the theme for Capodanno is The Great Gatsby.
Guests are encouraged to wear dress that recreates the clothing of The Great Gatsby, but that’s not mandatory. Just wear clothes, that’s all that’s required.
Your evening begins with dinner, but that’s not mandatory and you may join the party after dinner, and at less cost to you. This promises to be one of the most popular New Year’s Eve events so if you plan to participate, you’d better see to your tickets soon as they sell fast and the club isn’t really large enough to hold huge crowds.
A couple of words here about this location.
As to location, Cantavespri located in the heart of the historic City Center is always busy even during weeknights. The venue is not large and for this reason, it’s always crowded, but it does have an outdoor area with tables where you can get fresh air along with your refreshments…sometimes.
For information and booking, just send a message through their Facebook page.
2. Terrazza Excelsior Martini
If you’re one of those music lovers who can dance from sundown to dawn, this venue is one great option.
You can just go for the dancing or you can have your dinner there first and then join the late evening party.
You’ll have two dinner offerings. Either meat or fish. The price is the same for either.
I’ve never dined at this location. I wanted to go and give it a review but la mia dolce moglie (My sweet wife) wouldn’t allow me out so late. She thinks I’m too old.
In my own experience with New Year’s Eve dinners, the food isn’t that great. In any case, it’s your choice. The dinner and party combined is 100€. The party without dinner is 35€. That price includes your first drink as well.
All that being said, the location of stunningly beautiful. The restaurant has a large terrace allowing you to have a wonderful view of the Teatro Massimo and the spectacular firework display.
Take a tip from old Don Tano: If you’re interested in this New Year’s Eve celebration, you should visit their Facebook page for more information. If you intend to go, book immediately because space is limited. Usually, none of the staff speaks English.
3. Castello Al Mare
If good dining is a top priority for you, then this is the New Year’s Eve party for you.
Your host for the dinner at Il Castello al Mare will be Chef Natale Giunta. Chef Giunta is famous throughout Italy and you’ll see him on almost every TV show.
You’ll have a great dinner with the dance music and New Year’s Eve madness afterward.
Price: 120€ per person. That covers the complete dinner and the party.
As I mentioned above, Castello al Mare is a great location with a lovely surrounding lawn. You’ll be dining and dancing in a little seaside castle with a spectacular view of Cala Harbor.
And the real bonus is the best seat in all of Palermo for the great fireworks spectacle.
Another tip from old Don Tano: If you want more information about this exciting event, visit their Facebook page and book as early as possible because here too, space is limited and this one gets booked up quickly.
Felice anno nuovo amici miei! Happy new year!