The Carnival, like many recurrences of the Italian tradition, has very ancient origins, linked to Catholicism. The word Carnevale derives from the Latin carmen levare, meaning “to remove meat”: according to the ritual, a sumptuous banquet was prepared on the last day of this feast. From the following day, the Ash Wednesday, it was obligatory to observe a strict alimentary regime that did not consider the meat and that would last for 40 days (Lent), until Easter. That is why Carnival does not have a fixed date.
Today Carnival means party, masks, fun and joy. In this article we will dive into Italian carnival tradition, continuing our journey high and low for Italy.
Carnival 2019 will take place between February 28th, Fat Thursday, and March 5th, Fat Tuesday.
This time our virtual journey starts from Southern Italy, a magnificent land rich in traditions. Let’s start with the Carnival of Acireale, in Sicily. A party full of colors and masks, where papier-maché wagons parade through the streets of the historical center. On Fat Tuesday the sky is illuminated by splendid fireworks. In Sardinia we recommend the Sartiglia di Oristano, an exciting equestrian carousel that takes place on the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival. For Puglia it is impossible not to mention the Carnival of Putignano, the oldest in Europe, now at its 625th edition. The party grows from 17th January (Saint Anthony Abbot) and every Thursday you can enjoy a fun satire on various social strata. Obviously there is no lack of allegorical wagons and the traditional Farinella, a typical dish of the place that has also given the name to a mask.
Let’s go now towards central Italy to see the beautiful Fano Carnival in the Marche. A moment not to be missed is undoubtedly that of the getto, the launch of sweets that takes place from the characteristic allegorical floats. Tuscany is distinguished by two important Carnivals, that of Foiano della Chiana and that of Viareggio. The Carnival of Foiano della Chiana dates back to the middle of the 16th century and is enlivened by the competition between the four Cantieri of the village which work all year round to present the most beautiful allegorical wagon and win the Carnival Cup. The Viareggio Carnival is one of the most famous in the world: it stands out for its huge papier-maché wagons, vehicles of political-social satire. We also present the Cento Carnival in Emilia-Romagna: this festival has now assumed an international importance, is in fact twinned with the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. Also here are the wagons to be the master, thanks to the launch of toys. The celebration ends with the burning of Tasi, the typical mask of the city.
We end our trip with Carnival parties in Northern Italy. Milan is certainly a fascinating and original city, in fact its Sant’Ambrogio Carnival begins when the others end. Another interesting and alternative carnival is that of the Cumba Freida (cold valley) in Val d’Aosta: the passage of the Napoleonic soldiers is reminiscent in the splendid San Bernardo valley. What about an elegant ski carnival in Madonna di Campiglio? A high class party that takes us back to the times of Princess Sissi.
We must finish this article with the most beautiful and important Carnival in Italy, as well as one of the most famous in the world: the Venice Carnival. This unique celebration begins with the flight of the Angel in Piazza San Marco, a spectacular show in which a young artist plunges into the festive crowd. The rest is pure magic thanks to the streets, the masks, the music, the concerts and the regal atmosphere that only Venice can offer.
Carnival is just one of the many themes for which it is worth visiting Italy. Contact us for a unique tailor-made experience. We will let you dive on the various aspects that distinguish Italy in the world: art, culture, food, wine, entertainment and passion.
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