Carnevale is undoubtedly one of Italy’s biggest winter festival, celebrated in every town from the end of January, with masquerade balls, costume parties and parades taking place in streets, squares and restaurants.
Carnival is celebrate in the weeks before Lent, and its last and main day is Martedì Grasso (Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday. In 2016 Easter is very soon, and so it’ll be Carnival: Mardi Gras is on February 9th.
If you are in Italy during Carnival time, wherever you are, you can grab a mask and enjoy the fun!
Every town in Italy has its peculiar events and traditions, but the most popular ones are in Venice, Viareggio and Rome.
Carnival in Venice
During all Carnival period, the city is crowd with food stalls and with people wearing typical masks and costumes. Highlights events are gondolas parades along the Grand Canal, masks parades in Saint Mark’s Square, and the big fireworks show on the last day of Carnival. Carnival events in Venice will officially start on January 23rd, 2016.
For further information visit the Carnival of Venice site, and see the Program of the main events of the Carnival of Venice.
Carnival in Viareggio
Typical of Viareggio Carnival are the great Parades of giant allegorical papier-mâché floats. The Carnival of Viareggio was born in 1873, and every year every group of artists build up a new giant float, inspired by the events happened during the year. The philosophy of recovery and recycling through an only manual technique are the basis of the event. Furthermore, there are night parties, fireworks, masked balls, theatrical performances, culinary events and sport events.
In 2016 the great Masked Parades along the avenues near the sea will be on February 7, 14, 21, 28, and March 5 (tickets are required).
For the complete program visit the Viareggio Carnival site.
Carnival in Rome
Rome is the birthplace of Carnival celebrations, having its origins in the ancient Roman cult of Saturnalia, fertility rites to honor the god Saturn. You can still see the ruins of the Temple of Saturn at the Roman Forum, where they used to hold sacrifices.
During all Carnival time, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Via del Corso are turned into a hive of activity, hosting open-air theatre, equestrian art performances, games, activities and parties. The big Carnival Parade (Gran Carnevale Romano – Great Roman Carnival), in via Tiburtina, is the main part of Carnival celebrations, and will be formed by masked groups, floats, typical roman masks, costumed figurants, and historical groups. In the evening of the last day, Carnevale will end with a huge firework display in Piazza del Popolo.