Romans jump into Tiber river in New Year's Day tradition

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By Euronews  with AP
One of the divers takes the plunge on New Year's Day
One of the divers takes the plunge on New Year's Day   -  Copyright  AP Photo

Divers jumped off the Cavour Bridge into Rome’s Tiber river on New Year’s Day, keeping up the annual tradition that has been a spectacle in the Italian capital for decades.

Four Italians jumped or dove into the cold, murky depths from a height of some 15 metres.

A team of firefighters stood by on a boat in the river to quickly pull them out and get them dried off.

The event is a New Year tradition dating back to 1946, when an unemployed lifeguard who was trying to find work as a stunt man leapt into the waters from the bridge to advertise his skills.

Since then, it has caught on as an annual event, with hundreds of people gathering to watch the men jump off the bridge.

This year, the government has imposed a New Year's Day lockdown in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, so hardly anyone was able to witness the dive first hand.

Like throughout much of Europe, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations have been largely muted across Italy, due to the coronavirus restrictions in place.