New Year’s Eve Rome 2023, ‘Mister Ok’ 70 years and 35th dive into the Tiber

“Touch me after the jump, it brings luck”

Among rites, traditions and propitiatory customs, the Italians are preparing to greet the old year and to open the new in the name of good luck. So much so that almost everyone (even the most skeptical) tends to repeat and share rituals with friends and relatives on New Year’s Eve to attract good luck. Even the traditional dip in the sea, river or lake on the first day of the year winks at luck: there is no temperature that cares to welcome the new course wet and purified. Unmissable is the one on the Tiber by Mister OK, aka Maurizio Palmulli, the daredevil Roman who for 35 years, punctually at noon, has launched himself with a swan dive from the Cavour bridge. Ready go! Start the countdown for the best wishes to the Eternal City, its citizens and the many tourists. “It will be my thirty-fifth jump, 7 decades in practice, and to think that it had to be an isolated experience”, Mister Ok tells Adnkronos that he has arrived at the age of 70. A number he jokes about: “35 years of diving and 70 years: 3570, like calling a taxi in Rome”, he laughs.

The tradition of diving into the Tiber was inaugurated in 1946 by the Italo-Belgian Rick De Sonay, Palmulli carried it forward making himself known all over the world: “I started diving, at the beginning of the year, to say hello and best wishes to my city, then the traditional leap to the Tiber has crossed the Italian borders, I’m proud of it”, recalls Palmulli. The weather? It’s not a concern. “I launched when there was wind, ice, rain, in full lockdown and with the mask – which I also collected in the river -, in all ways, the weather doesn’t scare me – he specifies – however, every year that passes the The height from the bridge always seems greater to me. But as long as I hold on, I will be proud to honor this tradition for Rome”. Palmulli, born in the Castro Pretorio district, is the father of 5 children and has six grandchildren: “I hope that among the children who, together with their parents, come to see me (it’s always an emotion) there may also be a successor of ‘Mr Ok’ to not interrupt this tradition when I stop”.

Getting more serious, Mister Ok in expressing a wish for the coming year thinks of the war in Ukraine: “It’s a torment for everyone to see certain images, let’s hope that a road to peace will be found as soon as possible”. And finally, addressing the Romans: “I hope many of you will touch me after the jump into the Tiber, they say it brings you luck”.

Another ‘ok’ will arrive on the first day of 2023 from the waters of Lake Trasimeno. With ‘Mister Trasimeno OK’, the ‘Quelli del 65’ association proposes for the third time the dive – at 12 o’clock – near the Christmas tree drawn on the water of the lake. But from North to South, there are many citizens who will bathe propitiating good luck for the new year. Among the various appointments, the Ibernisti Group returns to the Lido of Venice on January 1st to bathe in the waters in front of the Blue Moon beach, an event, supported by the Municipality, now in its 42nd edition.

From Jesolo (11 am, stretch of beach in front of the Nettuno hotel) to Riccione (11.30 am, beach in front of piazzale Roma) up to Florence where the traditional dip in the Arno is renewed: appointment at noon, from the Canottieri platform of Florence, between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte alle Grazie. Same time in Naples at the beach called Mappatella Beach, near the Rotonda Diaz, for a dip in the waters of the Gulf.

In Calabria, thanks to the ‘Dive with us’ initiative organized by the Calabria un mare d’amore association, we meet on January 1st at 11.45 am on the seafront in the Lido di Catanzaro district for a group swim. At the same time we will also dive in Reggio Calabria, Crotone and Cirò Marina. And then there will be many, also thanks to the mild temperatures, who will open 2023 (starting at 9.30) with a dip in the Scala dei Turchi, on the Costa del Mito, in Sicily.