Top Five Carnivals In Italy – Forbes Travel Guide Stories

Venice Carnival

Carnival in Venice

Strikes unstoppable fun and colorful costumes, carnival (or carnival In Italian) originated in ancestral ceremonies performed on the occasion of the coming of the hot season to herald favors for the impending harvest. Today, all over Italy, the carnival season means wild parties, allegorical carriages and funny masks, and each region proudly preserves its traditions.

Whether it’s a spectacular parade, an ancient ceremony or a fascinating horse tournament, here are some of the major carnivals in Italy, and depending on your passions, you can choose the type of amusement you prefer and join in the fun.


Probably the most famous carnival in Italy, the origins of VeniceThe festivities begin in the 11th century, when the rulers of the city decided to give the population a short period each year to have fun with parties and festivals. These were the only days when they could feel, though for a fleeting moment, part of the rich community and even mock the rich, thanks to the masks they wore to hide their faces.

The festivities last about three weeks (February 15 to March 4), and some of the most traditional events are La Festa delle Marie, where 12 local girls are chosen to recreate the medieval tradition of the parade of new brides belonging to the noble class. , And the spectacular Volo dell’Angelo (Angel Flight), during which an artist descends from the bell tower of the Basilica of San Marco. The core of the festivities takes place on March 2 and March 4 (Mardi Gras), just before Lent, begins at Piazza San Marco at 10:30 a.m. with the beautiful masked processions, and ends at the Arsenal in the evening with fireworks, dancing fountains and live music.

To fully enjoy the festival, your best bet is to book your accommodation in the surroundings of Piazza San Marco. Luna Hotel in Glioni, Just around the corner from the famous Aryan Bar, finely decorated with vintage furniture and Murano glass chandeliers, and boasts a private pier that allows guests to reach by boat; While Bauer Palace, A three-minute walk from Piazza San Marco, offers stunning views of the Grand Canal and a gourmet restaurant, De Pisis, which serves a gourmet menu for dinner (think venison risotto and Venetian-style prawns) and a daily buffet breakfast. Morning.

Carnival in Iberia

Carnival in Iberia


The origins of the Carnival of Iberia can be traced back to the mysterious Roman canals and parties in honor of Dionysus in ancient Greece. In the 19th century, inspired by the spirit of the Resurgimento, A series of uprisings that led to the unification of Italy, the festival sought to symbolize a popular uprising that took place in the 12th century against the tyrant Ranieri di Biendera and headed by them Protected, A miller who traditionally killed the dictator and showed his head to the citizens when she declared the city free.

The main event of the Iberia Carnival is the wild orange battle, in which thousands of people, some on carriages and some in the streets, throw oranges at each other, in an attempt to recreate the old customs of noble girls throwing flowers, confetti and oranges from their balconies. The Battle of the Oranges takes place on March 2 and March 4 at around 2:00 PM, after Mogania walks the streets in her carriage.

Some of the best hotels in Iberia are space [Bianco], Offers beautifully decorated rooms, each inspired by a specific aspect of the culture, whether it is the nearby castles or the local vineyards; And pleasant Villa Hotel, With rooms equipped with satellite TV and Wi-Fi, boasting beautiful views of the Alps.


On the island of Sardinia, the carnival is very much associated with traditions that are thousands of years old. Among the festivities not to be missed is Oristano’s Sartiglia, a thrilling horse race in which riders perform acrobatic stunts from the saddle. Medieval Europe was the realm of horse tournaments, and in the artiglia of Oristano, the riders, dressed in rich costumes belonging to Sardinian and Spanish heritage, are the main feature. The event takes place on March 2 and March 4, begins around noon with the festive cavalry dressing, and continues at 13:30 in the first race, Corsa della Stella, and in the acrobatics tournament around 16:30.

If you think a medieval carnival is not old enough, head east towards Mamoyada, a spectacular village in the disturbing region of Sardinia in Sardinia, and enjoy a 2,000-year-old ceremony. According to history, this festival was not born for carnival purposes, but as a reconciliation ceremony to appease the gods and bring about a good harvest. When Christianity took over, newly appointed clerics were unable to erase existing myths, so they allowed believers to perform them just before Lent, when they would have enough time to repent. The ceremony will take place on March 2 and Tuesday, March 4, with the undisputed stars of the festival, From Motonim, Men clad in black sheepskin, carrying on their backs nearly 70 pounds of cowbells and wearing handmade wooden masks (the uglier, the better), marching along the main streets dancing rhythmically in two parallel lines.

If you fancy experiencing a thrilling carnival in Oristano, you can book Mistral Hotel In the historic city center, which offers all the comforts and a restaurant serving regional cuisine; or The Duomo Hotel, Which boasts a fine restaurant with regional dishes like spaghetti with mint, zucchini and bottarga (Fish eggs); Raw shellfish; And local beef steak.

On the other hand, to be completely immersed in the primordial spirit of the island with the carnival of Mamoyada, you can book a room in the charming B&B, Perda Pintà, Enjoy a pleasant environment and a homemade breakfast with prehistoric views A stream (Sacred stone) discovered in the property in 1997, or in a finely decorated B&B, S’Ortensia, Which provides private parking and a homemade breakfast.

Carnival in Viareggio

Carnival in Viareggio


Viareggio’s Carnival, founded in 1873, has different themes each year. For this 2014 edition, the 141st, some of the themes for the floats and masks chosen by the masters of the festival are the economic crisis and people’s dreams and fears; The Internet and the dangers behind it; The Lost City of Atlantis; Tribute to two international music stars, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury; As well as the ever-present mockery of Italy’s political establishment.

The giant allegorical buoyancy parades take place on March 2, March 4 and March 9, with nominations for the best float. The carnival ends on March 9 with the announcement of the winners and fireworks.

To be close to the festivities, one of the best places to stay in Viareggio is Residence Esplanda Hotel, A Liberty-style building located by the Tyrrhenian Sea where beautifully renovated rooms come with satellite TV and the restaurant serves seasonal Tuscan specialties (think lobster ravioli).


One of the oldest carnivals in Italy (and Europe), the Putiniano celebrations, in the region of South Puglia, have been held for more than 600 years. From unclear sources, it is said that its beginnings came to 1394, the year in which the Knights of Malta decided to move here the remains of St. Stephen. The news was happily received by the townspeople, who followed the saint in an impromptu procession that turned after the religious ceremony into a wild party that included dancing, music, jokes and parody acts.

Apart from competitions, exhibitions, theater performances and music performances, the main events of the festivals are the masked processions. This year, they pay tribute to Italian composer Giuseppe Vardi, which takes place along the city’s main streets on March 2 at 11:00, March 4 at 19:00 and March 9 at 11:00.

If you would like to stay in Putiniano, we suggest Arco Michel, A B&B housed in a traditional stone building located in the city center. However, if you prefer the convenience of a luxury resort, Park La Grave Hotel, In the nearby town of Castellana Grotte, is elegantly decorated in a typical Mediterranean style and features a restaurant serving authentic traditional cuisine and an international breakfast with fresh cakes, pastries, cereals, fruit juice and coffee.

Photos courtesy of Carnevale di Venezia, Fondaz Storico-Carnevale di Ivrea and Fondazione Carnevale di Viareggio


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