The Carnival arrives and Viareggio is transformed. Well, actually the locals are transformed. It’s not easy to figure out what happens during the Carnival if you don’t live in the town.
Subtle humour and a wish to have fun are felt by all ages and it sparks a self-mockery that becomes the theme of the costumes and groups. With mastery and care, the locals make their clothes and write the script of their costumes, taking to the streets and seaside promenades en masse.
Another particularity of Viareggio is that every Saturday, before the
Sunday costume parade, every neighbourhood has its own party: music,
street food, fried fish, tortelli and fish gnocchi go hand in hand in the
long night in the neighbourhoods. Torre del Lago is the first neighbourhood to start the party, followed by the Marco Polo neighbourhood, then it’s the turn of Vecchia Viareggio and concluded by Baccanale Darsena. The Viareggio Carnival begins with the opening ceremony where the keys of the town are handed over to Burlamacco and the last parade ends with a spectacular firework display.
The idea of the Carnival was conceived in February 1873 at the tables of the Casinò café, where the young rich of Viareggio decided to hold a parade of floats to celebrate Carnival in the streets and among the people. The spectacular event, today among one of the famous in the world, first took place on Shrove Tuesday in 1873. Burlamacco, the carnival’s clown-like mascot and most famous mask, dates back to 1930 and first appeared accompanied by Ondina, the other official mask, against the backdrop of piers stretching out into the sea, in the poster for the 1931 event.
The floats will travel down the five large carnival routes on following dates:
Saturday, February 9, 4 pm
Sunday, February 17, 3 pm Saturday, February 23, 5 pm Sunday, March 3, 3 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2.50 pm
The parade on the 17th of February will end with fireworks.
The magical papier-mâché giants will be accompanied by the folk groups, entertainers and townspeople in the most original costumes who will invade the scene. Finally, for those who wish to stay out late, parties and masked balls are also held in the region’s best-known bars and clubs.
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