Pisan New Year 2020

Following the Pisan calendar, the city of Pisa celebrates the beginning of 2020 in March!

From 24 March 2019 to 25 March 2019

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On 25th March, in the city of the leaning tower, the Capodanno Pisano is once again celebrated. New Year's Eve in March? Yes, you heard it right! And here is something else that will leave you speechless: in Pisa, 25th March is when New Year’s Eve 2020 will be celebrated. Are people in Pisa on the wrong time zone or is it because of a strange and collective time travelling disorder? The explanation is much simpler than it might seem: Pisa’s New Year Celebration on 25th March is nothing but a religious festival, which over the years has also become a historical re-enactment. This refers to Pisa’s style calendar that was used until 1749. So, among the Pisa events, today as in the past the beginning of the year is also celebrated in March! On this day, similarly to Gioco del Ponte and Luminaria di San Ranieri, you can enjoy Pisa under a different light! That’s the glowing light of Pisa’s style New Year fireworks, but also the evocative light of the past re-enacted through the historical parade and the regatta.



Before delving into the packed program of Pisa style New Year celebrations, let’s try and understand what the Calendario Pisano is all about. But don’t worry, we'll keep it short and simple, but for starters we need to go back to Roman times when the beginning of the year was made to coincide with the calends of March, that is, with the first day of the month. In 45 AD, Julius Caesar, set instead the beginning of the year to coincide with 1st January, just like it does at present. The fall of the Roman empire and the barbarian invasions led to the birth of the Republics and the municipalities. As it is well known, Tuscany is the land of allegiance to bell towers, and that’s the tendency of a town to be rivaling with the neighboring one. A tendency which also manifested itself in the use of different weight and length measurements and even different calendars thereby the beginning of the year coincided with different spring festivities. In the case of New Year Pisa style, the story goes that Pisa had chosen to associate the beginning of the year with the religious Feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary on 25th March. Here is the arcane explained! This type of calendar remained in force only until 20th November 1749 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco I, ordered that the first day of the following January would coincide with the beginning of the year 1750.



Around 1980 this festivity resurfaced and today this is one of the most anticipated and popular Pisa historical events. In actual fact, it marks the beginning of the celebrations of the historical events in Pisa, which also include Gioco del Ponte, Luminaria di San Ranieri, Palio di San Ranieri and every four years also the Regatta of the Maritime Republics. What is usually included in the Capodanno Pisano program? Things kick off in the evening of 24th March and just like New Year’s Eve (the classic one on 31st December) there are dinners based on typical Pisan recipes, even in restaurants. For the traditional San Romolo dinner in Pisa, you can enjoy cecina - the typical local soup (a focaccina made with chickpea flour), arselle – Pisan style dried cod - and many other delicacies. Most of Pisa style New Year events take place on 25th March and include the series of returning events we are listing below in addition to other complimentary events whose details you will find in the official website of the Capodanno Pisano.



Sunday, 24th March, 2019

  • 16:00: at the Arsenali Repubblicani, investiture of the roles of the Gioco del Ponte 2020 which will be held on the last Saturday of June.

  • 20:00: in the restaurants of the town center, typical medieval dinners with dedicated menus.

  • 23:00: Pisa New Year fireworks.


Monday 25th March 2019

  • 10:00: departure of the historical parade from the main squares of the city, crossing Borgo Stretto, Corso Italia and then merging into Piazza Cavalieri. The historic procession of Pisa style New Year's Eve is impressive and includes the participation in costumes of the various historical groups of the city but also the province and the region.

  • 12:00: Pisa Cathedral. Exactly at this hour a ray of sunlight enters from a window of the cathedral and hits a shelf on the pillar next to the pulpit of San Giovanni Pisano. According to tradition, the year does not start under the best auspices if the clouds prevent the sun from entering the cathedral. So, be ready to hold your breath to see what happens on 25th March in Pisa!

  • 13:00: dedicated menus with typical dishes and medieval specialties in Pisa’s restaurants.

  • From 16:00 to 18:00 in several location of the city: performances by historical and folk groups.

  • 20:00: in the restaurants of the town center, typical medieval dinners with dedicated menus

  • 18:45: regatta of the boats of the Palio di San Ranieri.

  • 21:00: Piazza dei Cavalieri final concert.


Among Pisa’s events throughout the year, you will agree Pisan New Year celebration is truly one of a kind! Just think about this, if you didn’t enjoy New Year’s Eve of 2019, you can have another go and celebrate in March the beginning of 2020. There will be many Pisan New Year events, all representing the perfect opportunity to visit the city of the leaning tower when the temperatures begin to be less rigid and decidedly more pleasant. Discover the city also with our tours in Pisa, which are perfect if you don’t want to miss out on the most beautiful and evocative corners of this timeless gem.


Capodanno Pisano 2020 date: 24th and 25th March 2019

Location: Pisa historical centre

By Insidecom Editorial Staff