Carnevale: Italian Mardi Gras
Are you feeling festive? Carnevale in Italy is a happy occasion to dress up and have fun! Carnevale is celebrated 40 days before Easter, a final party before Ash Wednesday and the restrictions of Lent. (in fact Carnewale comes form the Latin words carne and vale which means farewell to meat!)
If you happen to be in Italy around the month of February, you would witness parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties…such a colorful time! Children throw confetti at each other and they dress up as their favorite characters.
We say “A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale” which means that every prank or trick is accepted during carnival time!
Carnival is actually only one day, Mardi Gras, martedi grasso in italian before Ash Wednesday but some parts of Italy celebrate all month long.
Want to know the top Carnevale places? Here’s a list for you!
VENICE AND ITS FAMOUS MASKS
When you think Carnevale you think Venice. According to tradition, Venice’s Carnival got its start in 1162, when townspeople celebrated a victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia.
The most famous tradition in Venice are masks, dating back to 1268.By the time of the Renaissance, masks were a fixture of Carnevale celebrations. By the 16th century, the popular Commedia d’Arte troupe performed comedy in the piazzas of Venice—and masks were a big part of it.
Venice’s Carnival season starts about 2 weeks before the date of Carnevale. Events and entertainment are held nightly throughout Venice. During carnival season people in costumes wander about the city.
Some of the highlights are:
Gondola and boat parades along the Grand Canal
Mask parades in St. Mark’s Square
Carnival for Children in the Cannaregio district.
Grand fireworks show on the final day to end the carnival celebration.
ELABORATE PARADES IN VIAREGGIO
Viareggio, on the coast of Tuscany, has one of the biggest Carnevale celebrations in Italy. This carnival is known for giant paper maché floats used in parades every Sunday during the Carnevale. But that’s not all: festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place throughout the carnival season bin this pretty coastal town!
IVREA ORANGE THROWING
The town of Ivrea, in the Piedmont region, has a unique carnival celebration with medieval roots. The carnival includes a colorful parade followed by orange-throwing battles in the center of town. These battles take place on every Sunday and Tuesday in the Carnevale season. The final event , on Martedi Grasso, is the burning of the scarli (big poles, erected in the middle of each district’s square, covered with dry bushes)
CARNEVALE FULL OF FLOWERS IN ACIREALE, SICILY
Acireale holds one of Sicily’s most beautiful carnevale celebrations. The special feature of this Carnevale are the allegorical floats made entirely of flowers, parade through the town’s Baroque center. There are several parades during carnevale period and the floats are on display, too. There’s also music, a chess tournament, children’s events, and a fireworks finale.
A TASTE OF BRAZIL IN CENTO, EMIGLIA ROMAGNA
Cento, in the Emilia Romagna region, is connected to the most famous Carnivale celebration in the world, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The winning float in the Cento parade is actually taken to Brazil for their carnival. The interesting fact is that about 30,000 pounds of candy are thrown to spectators during the parade. Yummy!
Italy is always a good idea, especially with Fantastica Italia!