As carnival season approaches it is always good to reflect on where the best carnivals can be found. Yes we can always go to Brazil or Panama or perhaps Tenerife, considered to be the biggest carnival outside Brazil. But Italy has many excellent carnivals, including the great Venice masked carnivel. So here is the TripReporter guide to the best italian carnivals for 2017.
CARNIVAL OF VENICE
Venice – 11– 28 February 2017
During the world’s most famous masked “open city “party, every corner of Venice flourishes with chances to have fun and becomes 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.
CARNIVAL OF IVREA
Ivrea – Piedmont 11 Feb – 1 Mar 2017
Traditional sounds of pipe and drum bands open the festival that sees the most spectacular event of the famous Battle of the Oranges (28 February). Undoubtedly, this is the most spectacular event of the festivities representing the fight for liberty, the symbol of the Ivrea Carnival. The orange battle is an incredible cultural and goliardic heritage putting the festival on a national and international level.
CARNIVAL DEI FIGLI DI BOCCO
Castiglion Fibocchi – Arezzo – 12 & 19 February 2017
This Carnival takes place in Castiglion Fibocchi, a town near Arezzo. Castiglion Fibocchi is situated along the Roman road called Cassia Vetus, near the mountain of Pratomagno: a charming town dating back to the medieval period, exactly to the XII century. This carnival is an old event, when the participants wear fabulous baroque costumes and artistic paper-pulp masks. The carnival of Castiglion Fibocchi has been often considered a rival of the Venice Carnival.
CARNIVAL OF ACIREALE
Acireale – Catania – 18, 19, 23-28 February 2017
The Carnival of Acireale, is popularly known as the most exciting, beautiful and fun carnival in all of Sicily. It is 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 of Acireale. 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. Twinned with the Carnival of Viareggio it has a rich programme of events.
CARNIVAL OF PUTIGNANO
Putignano in Puglia, 12, 19, 26, 28 February 2017
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 visitors through the streets of the town during the Carnival days. The mascot of the Carnival of Putignano is called ‘Farinella’, named after a local dish made from chickpea and barley flour.
CARNIVAL OF FANO
Fano in the Marche Region, 12, 19, 26 February 2017
After the Ivrea Carnival, the Fano Carnival is the oldest in Italy, allegorical floats and masks, masquerades, shows and fireworks all form 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.
HISTORIC CARNIVAL OF PICENO
Ascoli Piceno, Castignano, Offida and Possa in Le Marche
24-28 February 2107
After the Carnival of Fano, considered the oldest of the Marche, the Marche Region is home to the Historical Carnival of Piceno involving the town of Ascoli Piceno, Castignano, Offida and Pozza. Carnival is an event that has been repeated for centuries and which is made up of many elements, from shows to the classic Raviolata (Ravioli Feast) in addition to the ever-present awards for the best masked groups, to parties for participants and for schools. At the Carnival of Offida, at nightfall of the Mardi Gras, the ignition and the parade of “Vlurd” take place. Hundreds of masked men and women, with long bundles of lit reeds on their shoulders, parade through the charming Medieval town of Offida following a predesignated path to reach the main square where the reeds are thrown on a bonfire and burnt to designate the end of Carnival.
CARNIVAL OF CENTO
Cento in Emilia-Romagna, 12, 19, 26 February & 5, 12 March 2017
The most extravagant Carnival in Europe 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 it will host many famous guest stars for the world of culture, sport, entertainment as well as beautiful floats in papier-mache
CARNIVAL OF BAGOLINO
Bagolino , near Lake Idro (Brescia), 26 to 28 February 2017
The Carnival of Bagolino, a small village near Lake Idro, is unique in Italy. It is an ancient tradition and it is deeply rooted into the people of Bagolino and Ponte Caffaro. The celebration is characterised by two different, yet inseparable figures: “The Balarì” e “The Mascher”. The origins of dances and music relating to the Balarì are of the 16th century while the origins of the Mascher seem to be older. The most spectacular aspect of the carnival of Bagolino is represented by the dancers, the Balarì, both for the richly adorned costume and for the melodies and dances. The pagan tradition is celebrated each year during the days preceding Shrove Tuesday.
GREAT CARNIVAL OF CREMA
12, 19, 16 February & 5 March 2017
Four Sundays of allegorical parades and street music: the “Gran Carnevale Cremasco” has always stood out for its uncontained joy and transgression. In centuries past this revelry deteriorated into“killings and stabbings”, write the authorities of the time. Nowadays there is no need to worry – everybody jeers: the” mascheroc” parade alongside the mascarú – the papier-mâché figures on the floats – with plenty of license to pull faces.
CARNIVAL OF ARCO
Arco in Lake Garda – Trentino,18, 19, 25, 26 February 2017
The colours, costumes, music and merriment: Carnival has always been the favourite festival of children, but in Garda Trentino it is a joy for grownups as well. Rites associated with the reawakening of life, local fairs, food festivals and lots of fun! The Great Carnival takes place in Arco each year. During this famous event, a traditional parade of allegorical floats winds through the streets of the small town. Splendid balls in which the guests are dressed in costumes from the Hapsburg period are held in the rooms of the Casino.