A Carnival of Allegories

If you’re walking around Italy and you find yourself surrounded by colorful masks, confetti, and costumes, it means that it’s Carnevale! You might be recalling this festive season from the very famous Carnevale di Venezia, an event that happens every year in Venice during February and March, and is well known all over the world for its costumes and masks. But here in Tuscany, in the coastal city of Viareggio, there’s another quite unique Carnival, the Carnevale di Viareggio.A Carnival of Allegories - image 2

This carnival is not as known as the Venetian one, but it is still very beautiful and unique. it is mainly known for its handmade papier-mâché floats, which are extremely tall, colorful, and detailed. All the floats are hand moved and accompanied by music and performers, both on the structure and in the street. The floats, however, are not just beautiful to look at, they also carry very strong social and political messages. The Carnival in fact started in 1873 as a protest against high taxes, and it developed into a parade that, with no filters, shares contemporary human issues. Nowadays the floats discuss about topics such as pollution, politics, and corruption, through allegorical symbolism.

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On the night before the first parade there is an opening celebration with fireworks and three cannon bangs, which define the beginning of the carnival. The parade is then held during four weekends, and on the last day, Fat Tuesday, the best float is announced and its creators win a special price (€€€)!


Overall, going to the Viareggio Carnival is a quite unique experience that can definitely change someone’s perspective of the world. During the celebration, people dance, sing, have fun, and most importantly, think.

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