When In Rome … Go Jump Off A Bridge?

Italian Marco Fois dives into the Tiber River from the 18 meter (59 feet) high Cavour Bridge in Rome, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008, to celebrate the New Year. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca
Three divers plunged into the river Tiber in Rome on Tuesday, honoring a New Year's tradition in the capital dating back to 1946.

Hundreds of Romans attended the annual gathering on the sides of the river to applaud the divers who welcomed 2008 by plunging into the water from the Cavour bridge standing at a height of 16 meters, or 52.5 feet.

"This is our tradition here in Rome. May everybody be well, happy and serene, not only us, but all over Italy and the world", said diver Giuseppe Palmulli, who was celebrating his twentieth year as a New Year diver.

The stunt is considered a dangerous event as the waters of the Tiber are cold, muddy and the river is not really deep enough for a dive from such a height.

"It was cold and I was a little afraid, but it is always a great emotion and a satisfaction," said diver Marco Fois after his jump.

Rome's New Year divers are not professional and don't have any chances to do practice jumps into the river before the event.

The first diver in the event's history was called Mr Ok, an unemployed man who was looking for a job in the film industry.