La Festa di San Silvestro is celebrated December 31 on New Year's Eve. Huge midnight fireworks displays celebrate the coming of the new year. Most towns have public displays in a central square but private parties will also include firecrackers or sparklers, too, and will continue for a long time. Dancing is also popular and many towns have public music and dancing before the fireworks. Rome, Milan, Bologna, Palermo and Naples put on huge popular outdoor shows with pop and rock bands. These events can sometimes be seen on television, too.
A great way to spend the New Year in Milan is at the Piazza Castello and the Piazza del Duomo. With the gorgeous cathedral as the backdrop, people come here to dance and enjoy live music with friends. The celebration lasts all night and fireworks are set off as people wish each other a Happy New Year. This is perhaps the largest of all the New Years parties in Milan. There is also a fireworks display and celebration that takes place at Castello Sforzesco.
There are few remains of the ancient Roman colony that later became a capital of the Western Roman Empire. During the second half of the 4th century, Saint Ambrose, as bishop of Milan, had a strong influence on the layout of the city, redesigning the centre (although the cathedral and baptistery built at this time are now lost) and building the great basilicas at the city gates: Sant'Ambrogio, San Nazaro in Brolo, San Simpliciano and Sant'Eustorgio, which still stand, refurbished over the centuries, as some of the finest and most important churches in Milan. The largest and most important example of Gothic architecture in Italy, the Milan Cathedral, is the fourth largest cathedral in the world after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Cathedral of Seville and a new cathedral in the Ivory Coast. Built between 1386 and 1577, it hosts the world's largest collection of marble statues with the widely visible golden Madonna statue on top of the spire, nicknamed by the people of Milan as Madunina (the little Madonna), that became one of the symbols of the city.