Going Out: Worldwide City to city

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The Independent Culture

A number of museums and private collections around the world have loaned works to the Palazzo Reale for its exhibition The Portrait and Physiognomy from Leonardo to Bacon. All of the art has one thing in common: it is centred on the face. The show explores how artists through the ages - from Leonardo da Vinci to Francis Bacon (above right) via Lotto, Caravaggio, Gauguin and Picasso - have interpreted the facial portrait, and the museum has dedicated all 1990 square metres of its ground floor to this unusual collection of masterpieces. The perfect excuse to re-read John Berger's Ways of Seeing.

Palazzo Reale, piazza del Duomo, , Italy (00 39 02 8691 5738) to 14 Mar, L15,000


Lighted boat parades have become a Christmas tradition all over America, the floating spectacle of illuminated craft from dinghies to yachts glowing against the night sky bringing a unique kind of magic to the holiday season. Newport is where it all began in 1908, when an Italian immigrant gondolier, John Scarpa, began ferrying people across the harbour in a gondola decorated with Japanese lanterns. The parade that grew out of this practice has since been voted one of the top 10 holiday events by The New York Times. Today, the Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade features a variety of competitions, with more than 150 boats vying for prizes in categories ranging from the most lights to the funniest display. There'll be no snow but lots of fun.

Newport Beach, California, USA (00 1 949 729 4400) to Wed, free


For nearly 100 years, crowds have lined Philadelphia's Broad Street on New Year's Day to watch the annual Mummers' Parade, a riot of colour, costume and controlled chaos that can last for up to 10 hours. The word "mummer" comes from the German word for "mask", and elements of today's revels have their origin in Roman festivals and pagan rituals where people wore costumes and masks to frighten away evil spirits. Today, bands and clubs compete for cash prizes totalling nearly $300,000, so outlandish fancy dress and musical virtuosity are always on the cards - spurred on by rivalries that go right back to the first parades.

Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (00 1 215 636 1666) New Year's Day, free


As part of its Christmas celebrations, Paris has once again created a huge ice-skating rink in the middle of the city. The Patinoire de l'Hotel de Ville covers some 1300 square metres - giving more than enough room for any budding Torvill and Deans to triple salchow to their heart's content. Also, an expert is on hand for free 20-minute group lessons every afternoon, so there's no excuse not to join in the revelry.

Place de l'Hotel de Ville, Paris, France (00 33 1 4276 4040) to 9 Mar, free - but daily skate hire costs Ff30