Toll from Italy fireworks falls sharply following information campaign

People gather to celebrate the New Year at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, early on Jan 1, 2014. The toll from exploding fireworks in Italy fell sharply this New Year following a stepped-up public information campaign, with revellers from Milan
People gather to celebrate the New Year at the Piazza San Marco in Venice, early on Jan 1, 2014. The toll from exploding fireworks in Italy fell sharply this New Year following a stepped-up public information campaign, with revellers from Milan to Naples toning down their once famously riotous celebrations. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - The toll from exploding fireworks in Italy fell sharply this New Year following a stepped-up public information campaign, with revellers from Milan to Naples toning down their once famously riotous celebrations.

Dozens of people were injured and a seven-year-old boy lost his hand but no fatalities were reported and the number of casualties was far lower than last year when two people were killed and 361 were injured.

"I think this shows a willingness to celebrate in a more civilised way than before," Mariano Marmo, a doctor at a Naples hospital, told news channel SkyTG24.

"The toll this year is one of the most favourable we have had in recent years. It is encouraging," he said.

Marmo said the worst casualty out of the 50 reported injured in and around Naples was a man who lost an eye.

Twenty-three people were also wounded in Rome.

Italy has increased warnings about the dangers of fireworks in recent years and police now regularly raid illegal fireworks factories ahead of New Year's.

The biggest New Year party was in Rome, where hundreds of thousands of people packed the Circus Maximus - an ancient Roman sporting arena - for a concert.

Some 80,000 people also crowded into St Mark's Square in Venice dressed in white in a yearly tradition.