Italy Today

How Italy is preparing for Carnival

From north to south, here are the best celebrations to join

How Italy is preparing for Carnival

Claudia Astarita

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The Italian State Tourist Board is right in claiming that from north to south, Italy's Carnival has long standing traditions, internationally-known, that attract thousands of visitors from around the world every year. "Carnevale" is a party with ancient roots. Nowadays it has become a folkloristic celebration where traditions and fun come together bringing life to this unique time of year.

In case you are planning to go to Italy in February, here are some of the best carnival celebrations you should not miss:

Venice - The Carnival of Venice was declared a public celebration in 1296 making the day before Lent a holiday. Today it is an evocative and popular fest, unique in terms of its history, masks and atmosphere. A famous event appreciated all around the world, bringing thousands of visitors to Italy each year.

Viareggio - Viareggio is known as a seaside resort in the area of Tuscany called Versilia, but also for one of the most important Carnivals in Italy with origins dating back to the end of the 19th century. The parades draw thousands of visitors of all ages, who come to see both the spectacular floats and parade as well as participate in the festive air in the town on the days of the masquerade processions.

Acireale - It is considered to be one of Sicily's most beautiful carnivals thanks to this magnificent Baroque city in the Province of Catania. Acireale's Carnival boasts an ancient tradition, having begun in the 16th Century and having become a spontaneous party among the people. Peculiar to this fest was the launching of rotten eggs and citrus fruits in the streets - at least until it was finally banned.

Cento - The Carnival of Cento is a very popular and well-known event in the province of Ferrara.  While maintaining the historic connotations from which it derives, the carnival was transformed into an extremely important folkloristic fest, where it once coincided with the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. It led to Cento's own display of the allegorical floats inspired by the Sambadrome or exhibition court in Rio de Janeiro.

Ivrea - Famous throughout the whole of Italy and, above all abroad is the Carnival in the Piedmontese town of Ivrea, province of Turin. During the Carnival, the historical reenactment of the people's rebellion against tyranny takes place. It is highlighted by the spectacular parade of the historic court and the thrilling Battle of the Oranges, filling the city with fantastic colours and perfumes, bringing everyone into the act.

Putigliano - Particular mention goes to the Carnival of Putignano, a town in the Province of Bari; standing on the Murge Plateau. It is the home of the famous trulli. Immersed in the Itria Valley, Putignano boasts the longest Carnival of them all, beginning on December 26th and ending on Mardi Gras with an evening parade and, finally, the "funeral" of Carnival. The origins of this Carnival go as far back as 1394, making it one of the most ancient carnivals in Europe.

Mamoiada - During the Carnival in Mamoiada, in the province of Nuoro, the streets are crossed by a picturesque procession, composed by two typical masks: the Mamuthones and the Issohadores. Two masks linked together.The carnival costume of the Mamuthone is no doubt one of the island's most important carnival masks and represents a thousand-year-old tradition.

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