Masked fun at the Venice Carnival

Carnival Time: Italy’s Most Popular Festivals

Who doesn’t love a good festival? We’re not talking about getting muddy at Glastonbury here as we take you through some wonderful events to enjoy in one of our favourite places… Italy.

Masked fun at the Venice Carnival
The Venice Carnival is one of the biggest and most popular in Italy.

Carnival of Venice: 26 Jan – 12 Feb 2013

During the world’s most famous masked ‘open  city’ party, every corner of Venice flourishes, with a multicoloured series of  shows, parades, masks and much more.

St Mark’s Square, the true centre of the party, is transformed into a continuous workshop of colours, masks, music and shows hosting carnival’s traditional events such as Flight of the Angel, Festa delle Marie and La Colombina. Palaces throughout the city host grand masked balls for those who want to immerse themselves in the Serenissima’s festive history.

Carnivale Dei Figli Di Bocco: 1 April and 7 April 2013

This Carnival takes place in April this year  in Castiglion Fibocchi, a town near Arezzo.

Castiglion Fibocchi is situated along the Roman road called Cassia Vetus, near the mountain of Pratomagno: a chaming town dating back to the medieval period, exactly to the 12th century. It’s an old event; a time when the participants wear fabulous baroque costumes and artistic paper-pulp masks.  The carnival of Castiglion Fibocchi has been often compared with the Venice Carnival.

Carnival of Acireale: 26 Jan – 12 Feb 2013

The Carnival of Acireale is popularly known as the most exciting, beautiful and fun carnival in all of Sicily. It’s one of the most involving and historical festivities of the island.

The parade is held throughout the downtown circuit which includes the main baroque attractions of the city.  The largest component of the whole Carnival is the crowd that embodies it, and is left completely free to roam the circuit without being enclosed behind barriers.

Viareggio Carnival, Italy
The colourful Viareggio Carnival, Italy.

Carnival of Viareggio: 3,10,12,17 and 24 February 2013

The most flamboyant of all the Italian Carnivals, famous for its political satire will host traditional shows of gigantic paper-mache figures on colourful floats. Other events include big parties, sports events, slang theatre shows, and food stalls to keep you fueled.

Carnival of Cento: 27 Jan, 10,17,24 Feb and 3 Mar 2013

Said be locals to be the most extravagant carnival in Europe this event is twinned with the Brazilian Carnival for the style of its allegorical floats, the beautiful costumes and for the riotous fun.

Cento is a town near Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna and will host many famous guest stars from the world of culture, sport, entertainment, as well as beautiful floats in papier-mache of course.

Carnival of Putignano: 27 Jan, 3-19-12 Feb 2013

The Carnival of Putignano, a lovely town in Puglia south of Bari, is one of the oldest in Europe and one of the most important in southern Italy.

Allegorical floats and masks, masquerades, food and wine will entertain you through the streets of the town. The mascot of the Carnival of Putignano is called Farinella, named after a local dish made from chickpea and barley flour. Just in case you want to know.

The Ivrea Carnival, Italy
The Ivrea Carnival, famous for its Battle of the Oranges.

Historic Carnival of Ivrea: 3,7,9,12 Feb  2013

This is the oldest Carnival in Italy where the traditional sounds of pipe and drum bands open an festival that’s well known for the famous Battle of the Oranges (12 Feb).  Undoubtedly, this is the most spectacular event of the festivities representing the fight for liberty, the symbol of the Ivrea Carnival.

Carnival of Fano: 27 Jan, 3 and 10 Feb 2013

After the Ivrea Carnival, the Fano Carnival is the oldest in Italy, with allegorical floats and masks, masquerades, shows and fireworks all forming part of it.

What makes the Fano Carnival special is the launch of tons of sweets from the floats to the crowds of spectators and the special music accompanying the carvival, the Arabita music played with musical instruments and various other objects.

Carnival of Arco: 2 – 3 and 9 – 10 Feb 2013

Colours, costumes, music and merriment: this carnival has always been a favourite with children, but in Garda Trentino it’s a joy for grown-ups too.

The event takes place in Arco each year and you’ll be able to watch a traditional parade of allegorical floats winding through the streets of this small town. Plus, there are splendid balls to attend, in which the guests are dressed in costumes from the Hapsburg period and held in the rooms of the Casino.

Carnival of Muggia: 7 – 13 Feb 2013

The Carnival of Muggia, in this small town near Trieste, is one of the most famous in Friuli. It’s an event with parades of allegorical floats, with masked people dancing in the street (unsurprisingly) accompanied by  music played live by local bands. Fish specialities typical of Muggia and other delicacies are served during the carnival so you won’t go hungry.

Carnival of Bagolino: 11 – 12 Feb 2013

The Carnival of Bagolino, a small village near Lake Idro,  is unique in Italy. It’s an ancient tradition and deeply rooted into the people of Bagolino and Ponte Caffaro. The celebration is characterised by two different, yet inseparable figures: The Balarì and The Mascher.

The origins of dances and music relating to the Balarì are of the 16th century while the origins of the Mascher are thought much older. The most spectacular aspect of the carnival is represented by the dancers, the Balarì, both for the richly adorned costume and for the melodies and dances. This pagan tradition is celebrated each year during the days preceding Shrove Tuesday.

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