Police were forced to intervene after things got out of hand, with party-goers up and down the country calling the restaurant, located on the A13 between Bologna and Padua, to reserve their place, Il Resto del Carlino reported.
But what did the message say that piqued their interest?
“Tired of the same old New Year’s Eve?” the organizers wrote in their invitation.
“Want to spend December 31st in an original way? Then join us at Autogrill. Fantastic motorway food. We can ‘do the conga’ together with loud music in the forecourt. The only cost is the motorway toll.”
The message quickly went viral, attracting 35,000 ‘likes’ and almost 13,000 people confirming their attendance.
But it also whipped staff at Autogrill Adige Est into a frenzy after thousands called the restaurant to reserve their place.
Police in Bologna were notified and amid concern that the influx of revellers would clog traffic on the motorway they immediately issued a statement, putting paid to the party plans.
“There will be no motorway party,” they said.
“The carpark at Autogrill Agide Est has a capacity for just 100 cars. The situation has got out of hand. The danger is it could block the entrance to the service station, with serious consequences for the entire circulation of traffic on the motorway.”
But according to the organizers, the invitation was less a joke and more a revolt against costly big New Year’s Eve events. They just didn’t expect it to be so appealing, let alone attract police intervention.
“The idea was thought up in a bar among a group of friends,” Giorgia Furlanetto, a trainee lawyer, told police.
“We were just looking for a cheaper way to spend New Year’s Eve.”