Carnival in Italy – The best places to visit
venetian mask of carnival

CARNIVAL IN ITALY: Where to celebrate it and what to eat

If you are planning to visit Italy in the winter period, you can’t miss the events to be held during the Carnival!

Carnival is a special festival in many Italian cities, especially in Venice which has a long tradition and represents the Italian carnival best known by tourists from all over the world.

Carnival in Italy, is celebrated during 40 days before Easter and lasts for two or three weeks or one weekend (it depends on the cities) before the Shrove Tuesday and the Ash Wednesday.

Here we present a list of places where to celebrate it and what to eat during your Carnival in Italy!

Venice

venetian carnival italy - masks and costumes

Venice will be full of events during the Carnival from 8th to 25th February:

You’ll meet a lot of masquerades and people dressed with extravagant costumes and original masks, and feel a joyful and a festive atmosphere around the narrow streets of the city.

In the evening you can spend your time going to a private party, masqueradas ball or enjoying the free entertainment available in the St Mark’s Square, the centre of the Venice Carnival.

If you are interested to buy a mask, we suggest you to visit the Atelier Marega: it offers many historical Venetian costumes (made to measure), and authentic, unique and beautiful masks of the highest quality.

Castagnole - typical venetian sweet Carnival

Food: In the Carnival time, you can taste two typical sweets: the Galani and the Castagnole, and a lot of fritters are waiting for you!

Latium

Italian Carnival mask

If you are travelling in Rome and surroundings, you can choose one of the traditional Carnivals that will be held in Latium:

  • Frascati Carnival: The Roman Castles’ town will welcome you with masks, parades, events, folklore and the inevitable “Pulcinella”.
  • Ronciglione Carnival: In the Carnival period, Ronciglione becomes the city of entertainment with parades, Gala courses, masks, gastronomic events.
  • Prenestino Carnival: During the opening of the Festival will take place a parade of waders and mascots, and a parade of wagons and masked groups. There will also be animation, parades, shows on the streets and squares.
  • Tivoli Carnival: The Festival program includes the traditional parades of the Allegorical Carnival wagons and various special events.

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Frappe: Roman traditional Carnival sweet - Italy

Food: We recommend you to eat to traditional carnival sweets: the Frappe and the Castagnole.

The first ones are strip-shaped sweets, made with flour, eggs and sugar, baked or fried. Then are enriched with icing sugar, honey or liqueur.

The second ones are small balls of flour, eggs, sugar and butter fried and covered with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Tuscany

Viareggio Carnival - Italy

 Also in Tuscany you will find many events during the Carnival, especially in Viareggio where it is celebrated with a big and famous festival:

  • Florence Carnival: Events, parades, traditions and many others to spend your Carnival with joy and fun.
  • Viareggio Carnival: It is the most beautiful carnival in Tuscany that offers a unique show of masks, music, fun, satire and lots of fun.

Many tourists come in Viareggio to admire the parade of allegorical wagons during the five days of the masked courses on the sea avenues.

These papier-mâché giants have truly impressive dimensions, and are considered the largest allegorical carnival wagons in the world.

The opening of the festival is celebrated with a triple cannon shot from the sea, and ritual fireworks.

  • Follonica Carnival: it is one of the most beautiful masked parties on the Tuscan Riviera.

The event will be entertained by the masked groups, music and the famous election of the Follonica Carnival Queen.

It will be unmissable the traditional parade of allegorical wagons on the seafront and the main streets of the historic center.

  • Figli di Bocco Carnival: it is celebrated in the splendid village of Castiglion Fibocchi, jewel of the Tuscan hills in the province of Arezzo.

In a mediaval atmosphere, you can meet the local people with their faces covered in fine handmade papier-mâché masks and admire the ancient village of the country invaded by a bright sparkle of colors.

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Rice fritters - typical tuscan Carnival sweet

Food: If you are in Tuscany during the Carnival festival, you MUST to eat at least one of these six traditional sweets:

  1. Schiacciata alla Fiorentina: In the ancient version it was prepared with the use of brewer’s yeast, a double leavening and the addition of lard.
  2. Frati: Sweet fried donuts, empty or stuffed with cream. It’s very famous in the city of Livorno.
  3. Zuccherini: The typical dessert of the Fucecchio Carnival. It’s a sweet poor and is made with a dough similar to that one used for the dry biscuits.
  4. Berlingozzo: It’s a Bundt cake made with simple ingredients, similar to those used for “brigidini”.
  5. Rice fritters: They’re also known as San Giuseppe fritters and are very easy to prepare. Sweet balls made with rice, milk, vanilla, flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and rum or sambuca.
  6. Cenci: The name evokes the shape, similar to a piece of cloth. It is worth tasting them together with a glass of vinsanto.

 Naples

Pulcinella Mask - Neapolitan Carnival

The Carnival of Naples is one of the most folkloristic festivals in Italy. In fact the masks and costumes of the Naples carnival will enchant you, and you will be immersed in a swirl of colors, flavors and smiles.

Above all it is a Carnival child-friendly: children are the real protagonists of the many parades in the city.

We suggest you to enjoy the parades in Piazza Ammirato, in Sanità and in the Materdei district, but during the Mardi Gras you can’t miss the famous Neapolitan Carnascialata held in Via San Giovanni Maggiore Pignatelli, and the parades of wagons that will involve all the historic districts of the city.

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Migliaccio: traditional sweet in Italy (Naples)

Food: The food is the best part of the Neapolitan Carnival. There are so many delicacies and typical dishes that you won’t able to resist!

  • Lasagne: It’s the first course inevitable for every citiziens of Naples. A caloric bomb made by ragout with meatballs, ricotta, parmesan and boiled egg.

There are also vegetarian variants of lasagna, such as the one with artichokes.

  • Meatballs and Chops: Classic meatballs cooked in the tomatoes sauce and prepared by adding bread, eggs, pecorino and pine nuts to the minced meat, or the chops (meat rolls) generally stuffed with raisins, pine nuts, garlic, parsley and pecorino.
  • Migliaccio: The name of this dessert derives from millet, the cereal from which the flour was obtained, and it is prepared using ricotta and semolina.
  • Chiacchiere: Sweet similar to Tuscan Cenci, Roman Frappe, and Venetian Galani. They are prepared using only eggs, flour, sugar and yeast and can be baked or fried. Often they are served with spreadable chocolate or sweet blood sausage.
  • Sweet blood sausage: It is a dark chocolate cream, formerly prepared with pig’s blood, inside which Chiacchere are dipped.

 

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