Italy has many carnevale celebrations, but Venice, Viareggio, and Cento hold the biggest and most elaborate festivals. Many other Italian towns hold carnival festivals, some with very unusual events. Here are top places to celebrate Carnevale in Italy:
Venice CarnevaleVenice'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. Find out more in Tips for Going to Venice Carnevale.
Some public 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.
Viareggio CarnevaleViareggio, on the Tuscany coast, has one of the biggest Carnevale celebrations in Italy. Vaireggio Carnival is known for its giant, allegorical paper maché floats used in parades not only on Shrove Tuesday but also the three Sundays before and two weekends following. Admission is charged to view the parades. Festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place throughout the carnival season both in Viareggio and nearby and restaurants have special carnival menus.
The Carnival Museum, Cittadella del Carnevale di Viareggio, is open Saturdays and Sundays from 3:30 to 5:30 PM.
Ivrea Orange Throwing Carnevale
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. The carts are presented with a parade through town about a month prior to Carnevale. Then orange battles take place on Sunday through the Tuesday of Carnevale. The culminating event is the burning of the scarli (big poles, erected in the middle of each district's square, covered with dry bushes) on the evening of February 5 to end the carnival season. Other events are scheduled during this time as well.
Ivrea Carnival and Orange Battle Story
Ivrea Carnival Pictures, 2006
Equestrian Carnival and jousting tournament in Sardinia
The town of Oristano (see Sardinia map) celebrates Carnevale with a costumed parade, horse races, and a re-enactment of a medieval jousting tournament in a festival called La Sartigilia.
Sardinia Carnevale in Oristano
Sardinia Carnevale in the Barbagia Mountain VillagesThe island of Sardinia is steeped in tradition and that's especially true in the Barbagia villages outside Nuoro. Tradition is strongly reflected in their unique carenvale festivals, influenced by ancient cult and rites.
Carnevale in Mamoiada and Orotelli
Carnevale in Acireale, SicilyAcireale holds one of Sicily's most beautiful carnevale celebrations. Flower and paper-mache' allegorical floats, first made in Acireale in 1601, 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.
Carnival of Acireale web site
Pont St. Martin - Roman Carnevale
Pont St. Martin in the Val d'Aosta region of northwestern Italy, celebrates carnival Roman style with nymphs and people dressed in togas. sometimes there's even a chariot race. On Shrove Tuesday Evening, festivities culminate by hanging and burning an effigy of the devil on the 2000 year-old bridge.
More about Aosta Valley Carnival celebrations.
Brazilian Carnaval in Italy
Cento, in the Emilia Romagna region, is linked to the most famous Carnivale celebration in the world, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Floats are very high quality and often include items from Brazil. The winning float in the Cento parade is actually taken to Brazil for their carnaval. Participants arrive from all over Italy to march in the parade or ride along on their motorcycles. 30,000 pounds of candy are thrown to spectators during the parade. Cento is about two hours from Milan, between Bologna, Ferrara, and Modena.
Cento Carnevale d'Europa
Not far from Venice, Verona has one of the oldest carnevale celebrations in Italy, dating from 1615. On the day of Carnival (Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) Verona has a huge parade with more than 500 floats. 15,000 kg of sweets are thrown out into the crowd!
Verona Travel Guide | Top Verona Hotels
Snow Carnival in the Alps
The Alpine resort town of Livigno, near the Swiss border, celebrates Carnival with a procession of downhill skiers, followed by an obstacle race, fancy dress ball, and traditional parade in the streets. Livigno information
Albanian Carnival in Calabria
The southern Italian region of Calabria has Albanian settlements. Lungro holds a carnival parade with people in traditional Albanian costumes. The Carnival of Pollino in Castrovillari includes women dressed in intricate local costume and celebrates the Pollino wine of the region, Lacrima di Castrovillari. In northern Calabria, Montalto Uffugo holds an interesting wedding parade of men wearing women's dresses. They hand out sweets and tastes of Pollino wine. Following the parade, the kings and queens arrive for a night of dancing wearing costumes that include giant heads. Calabria Travel Map
Return to Page 1 for an Introduction to Carnevale