This atmospheric carnival at Viareggio draws thousands of visitors from around the world each year. The streets overflow with guests who come to see both the spectacularly decorated floats and to soak up the party atmosphere of this sensational cultural celebration.
The “Carnevale di Viareggio” takes place over an entire month with five days of processions every year. A true family affair where visitors of all ages flood to the city to enjoy a remarkable street party. With entertainers, dancers, jugglers, musicians and actors entertaining the crowds, impressively decorated floats fill the streets, each competing for the prize of the most eye-catching and outlandish creation. Masks and costumes are essential, and friends and families all come together to enjoy this historic celebration. The more elaborate the mask or more theatrical the costume the better. Children can enjoy face-painting and street theatre, while adults can take in the satiric caricatures of politicians and celebrities as depicted by the giant paper mâché models aboard the floats.
Central to the Viareggio Carnival is the Burlamacco, a character symbolic of this event. It is inspired by other costumed characters of the Italian commedia dell’arte, such as the Harlequin, Balanzone, Pierrot and Rugantino. Burlamacco is always dressed in a long red and white chequer suit with a cocked hat and long, black cape around his shoulders. In each carnival parade, the Burlamacco is accompanied with a float comprised of only female participants, referred to as the Ondina in honour of Viareggio’s link with the sea and the summer (onda means wave in Italian).
2019 Event Dates: 9 February, 17 February, 23 February, 3 March, 5 March
Treats to Eat During Carnevale
Cenci are traditional sweets that are often prepared throughout Italy during carnival season. In Italian,these delicious fried dough covered with powdered sugar sweets, name means “rags” because that’s exactly what these haphazard rectangles look like! They’re golden, crispy, light and easy to prepare. Click here for a Recipe for Cenci.