Darco Sangermano, 28, was hit in the temple by the .22 calibre bullet while wandering with his girlfriend through Naples – a city in Italy notorious for its rowdy New Year celebrations, often involving firearms and powerful fireworks.
The bullet went through the right side of his head, behind his eye socket and lodged in his nasal passage but miraculously did no serious damage.
Bleeding heavily, he was taken to hospital in an ambulance shortly after midnight, but while waiting to be seen by doctors he sneezed and the bullet shot out of his right nostril.
Mr Sangermano, a craftsman from Turin, returned to his hometown after being released from hospital.
“The route of the bullet broke his temporal bone, near his temple, and this slowed down the bullet which grazed his eyeball without hitting it directly,” Dr Guglielmo Ramieri told Gente magazine.
Surgeons operated on the eye, removing splinters of bone that the bullet left in its wake.
“The operation lasted several hours but he is fine,” said Mr Sangermano’s uncle, Vito Sangermano. “The doctors agree that he will not lose the use of his eye, even if for now his sight is blurry.”
In the next few weeks Mr Sangermano will undergo laser surgery to repair damage to his retina and is expected to make a full recovery.
This is one of the strangest stories of 2011 which I somehow missed.