Last year, we spent this weekend celebrating at one of Italy's most famous Carnevale in Venice. This weekend, we're heading down to Fano to check out Carnevale there, which we've been told is quite famous as well (who knew?!).
Over the course of last year, we began to discover all the different Carnevali around Italy, everything from over-sized caricature floats, famous Venetian masks, to medieval orange-throwing fights.
My top favorites to check out:
Viareggio - Every year this quiet Tuscan beach town hosts one of Italy's most popular carnevale. The parade consists of over-sized floats and caricatures of popular people, and runs alongside the local beach. Festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place throughout the carnevale season both in Viareggio and nearby cities, and restaurants have special carnival menus.
Ivrea - The town of Ivrea, is located in the Piedmont region of Italy (40 miles north of Turin). Ivrea has one of the most unique carnival celebrations with deep medieval roots. In addition to the local carnival parade, the town also houses tourists from around the globe to participate in the orange-throwing battles held in the center of the town.
The orange battles take place from Sunday until the Tuesday of Carnevale. The highlight of the event is the burning of the scarli (big poles, erected in the middle of each district's square, covered with dry bushes) on the last evening to end the carnival season. Why? The battle is an allegoric representation of a local insurrection in 1194 against Holy Roman Emperor Frederick of Swabia, a.k.a. Barbarossa (Red Beard). A local Joan of Arc, Violetta, supposedly started the insurrection, which resulted in the destruction of a castle that represented imperial power.
If you're interested in reading moe about the history behind the event, click here
Cento - Cento Carnevale is located in our neck of the woods, in Emilia-Romagna, near the city of Ferrara (about a half hour from Bologna). It's also the sister carnevale to the most famous celebration in the world, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. No orange-throwing festivals, but nearly 30,000 pounds of candy are thrown into the streets of Cento.