We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life in Venice - New Year's Eve in St. Mark's Square - Love 2009

Our New Year's Eve celebrations in Baltimore have been spent at home with our dear friends Steve and Lisa. We dress up formally, decorate the house with balloons and streamers, cook a wonderful gourmet meal together,and then enjoy counting down the minutes until the New Year. We're not really into the huge crowds or big parties.

2008 has been a whole different year ,though-- and this seemed to call for something a little out of the ordinary in the way of a New Year's Eve celebration. We still can't believe we've been here in Venice for a full year already-- the months and days have just flown by! When I inquired what people do for the holiday, the most common answer was go out to dinner then have a small celebration with friends. My daughter Shannon has been here with us for the holidays so we decided to go see the fireworks at St. Mark's. In 2008 the city put on a big party, called Love 2008, where they did the countdown to the New Year and everyone joined in for a mass kiss. This year, Venice was planning to repeat the event, with a bit more in store for the crowd.

Earlier in the afternoon on the 31st we walked through St. Mark's Square and could see a huge bandstand had been erected. They were doing sound checks, and unloading cases and cases of Bellini, and we saw a huge blow up balloon of a Bellini bottle, which reminded me of the Macy's day parade balloons! This looked like the city was really getting ready for quite the party! with expectations of 60,000 in attendance.

Love 2009 started at 10pm. We walked to the square from our apartment out in Santa Croce and arrived around 11. It was cold, just starting to snow, and we didn't want to spend 2 plus hours out in the cold just waiting for the countdown. By the time we arrived, St. Mark's Square was packed with people, and the hosts of the event were up on the stage in the midst of some "Practice" countdown kisses with the crowd. A band played on the stage, and people were singing and dancing in the crowd. This whole set up reminded me of New Year's Rocking Eve in Times Square with Dick Clark. This picture is of the stage area complete with large screens and all.

All sorts of cute images were projected onto the wall of the Campanile which was on the opposite end of the square from where the stage had been set up. They were doing the 10-9-8 -7 etc. countdown by displaying the numbers up on the wall for everyone to count along with.

We decided to move out to the molo before the stroke of midnight to get in position for viewing the fireworks display over the lagoon in front of the Doge's Palace. We wouldn't hear the countdown to the New Year by the event hosts on the stage, or take part in the free Bellini toast, but we were able to participate in the kiss at midnight along with everyone else around us out on the waterfront. It was snowing pretty heavily all this time, and everyone was cold and wet!!

We had just about decided to give up waiting and start walking home when we heard the first blasts and saw the showering of colors out over the water. The Italians do love their fireworks!!! It was a wonderful display, ending in a huge splash of colors that seemed to last for a good 5 minutes. While we may not do this event year after year, it was the perfect way to end our first year and begin 2009.

It's midnight!!! Mike and Karen's first kiss of 2009!!

Fireworks over the lagoon in front of St. Mark's Square - 2009

You can justbarely see San Giorgio Maggiore across the lagoon ! What an awesome sight!

Buon Anno, Tutti!!!!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Excellent description of the event. I suggest posting the picture of your midnight kiss along with the others. :)