The New Year here starts out with a bang, and I do mean that quite literally. I know all about the dangers and the accidents, and I do understand why there are those who would like to see it banned, but on this point I’m afraid, my rational adult must concede to my inner child. It is the one day a year when I am completely transported to the wonder of my youth. The spectacle, the celebration – what an amazing show it is. Words can’t describe it, pictures can’t convey it, and even the most highly orchestrated pyrotechnics shows are no match for the organic nature of this homegrown event.

The first wave started about six in the evening, although there were the occasional pops and bangs throughout the day. The setting sun overpowered the colors of the fireworks being shot off by the neighborhood kids in the piazza but that didn’t stop them. At the edge of the street, a few of the neighborhood elders set off huge explosions that caused the cars and motos to swerve to avoid them. Sporadic outbursts continued for the next few hours and then suddenly everything went eerily silent. No cars on the road, no people on the street. Everybody had retreated to their apartments to enjoy their family meals and await the celebration that would last until the early hours of the morning.

As midnight approached I set my camera up to get a few shots, but within minutes fireworks were going off all around me. I didn’t know whether to point it right, left or straight. To my right, a huge show was coming from just below Reginella’s Restaurant. To my left, a neighbor was putting on a show in the middle of the street. In front of me, blasts were coming up from Villa Martinelli and flashes of light appeared all along the Sorrento coast and around to the city. Explosions were going off in the piazza, from just about every window and balcony along Via Posillipo, and above us on Via Petrarca and Via Manzoni.

Things would continue that way until at least 2:00 a.m. when we heard sirens in the piazza and figured that was our cue to head on to bed. I found out the next day that a burning palm tree brought out the “Vigili del Fuoco,” and that they had to return around 4:00 a.m. for some type of explosion. As far as I know though, no one was injured, the kids were elated and the adults were kids again, if only for just a few hours.