Enjoy the spectacle of Carnival in Italy.
The best places to celebrate this crazy time of year.
If the cold February weather, and “post- Christmas Blues” – to say nothing of the credit card bills (!) are getting you down, why don’t you pop over to Italy for a short break to experience the madness that is the fun filled Carnival season? OK so it may not be quite as hot as it is in Rio but saying that, Italy has some great places to celebrate Carnival….
Famous all over the world for its history, decorative masks and incredible atmosphere, Carnival in Venice is a magnificent Festival and an irresistible unique attraction drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the lagoon city every year. During the two weeks of Carnival season in Venice, which traditionally begins on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, visitors can take part in the numerous events all over the city be these in the streets or in the many public buildings.
As was also customary in the past, there are also many stunning private masked balls held in the grand historic buildings throughout the city. In these buildings, where time appears to have stood still for centuries, visitors can experience the magnificent ancient character of this traditional event.
Carnival begins with one of the most impressive events of the whole festival with the Flight of the Eagle or the Flight of Columbina from the Bell Tower of St Mark’s Cathedral as he swoops down onto the stage of the Palazzo Ducale.
The coastal city of Fano is in the Marche region of Italy on the Adriatic coast, roughly midway between Rimini and Ancona. Fano has a long tradition of Carnival, indeed it is said that this Carnival is one of the oldest of all in Italy, beginning as it did as a celebration of the reconciliation of two influential and feuding families back in the 14th Century.
What marks this one out as particularly different is not just the long history and tradition but that it is arguably the “sweetest” Carnival as hundreds of pounds of sweets and chocolates are showered on the crowds of spectators from the passing floats.
The booming triple gun salute out at sea marks the beginning of Carnival celebrations and parade in Viareggio on the coast of Northern Tuscany. As if by magic, gigantic gargoyles appear to come to life, awoken by the music, dancing and the movement of the crowds providing a spectacular and exciting spectacle for the visitor. The town of Viareggio is transformed for a month into a gigantic fun factory with no fewer than five Carnival processions, numerous parties, fireworks displays, theatrical performances and gastronomic events to name but a few.
The picturesque centre of the small town of Cento located in the province of Ferrara some 32 kms/20 miles north of Bologna, provides the unique backdrop for the spectacular papier maché figures, ornate masks and costumes as they fill the town square and the Corso Guercino every year on Carnival Sunday between 2.00 and 6.30 pm transforming the streets into a thronging mass of colourful masks, music, dance and partying. Cento’s partnership with Rio de Janeiro brings a particularly colourful and exotic flavour to the event as Brazilian dancers and drummers perform each year on the main stage. Tourists from all over the world are drawn to the town, not only to experience the Carnival events but also for the many cultural gastronomic and sporting events which take place at the same time.