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Carnival in Italy

During the Carnival period in many places there are festivals and events related to customs and traditions that tread the fine line between the sacred and the profane and are steeped in history. They are rituals and ancient traditions with typical masks and characters, from the North to the South of Italy. The cities are teeming with colours and parades, always accompanied by sweets and a festive crowd.

The most famous Carnival in the world is certainly the Carnival of Venice, which is based on the tradition of wearing masks to walk around the city anonymously. In this period the city is filled with sumptuous 18th century-style masks and every neighbourhood is transformed into a stage for parades and events. In the seaside town of Viareggio people celebrate the Carnival of Viareggio, which is famous for the parade of allegorical floats. Groups of artisans spend a whole year working on huge mobile papier-mâché structures. The floats focus on current controversial issues with caricatures in motion, making their way through the city while being cheered on by people wearing costumes.

In Ivrea, a lovely city near Turin, there is a festival called the “Battle of the Oranges”. During the last three days of Carnival, people crowd the streets to see the masked parade and then watch, in the main squares, two parties throwing oranges at each other: the “Aranceri”, i.e. the orange-throwers on the carriages, and the common people who are on the ground. The event ends with the “Abbruciamento dello Scarlo”, a pole covered in heather and juniper that is then burnt in Piazza di Città, a symbolic ritual of vitality and luck.

A very peculiar experience is the Carnival on the water in Comacchio. The village is located near a “valley” on the Po delta. It is known for its eel farming, its characteristic canals and the monumental Trepponti, a large bridge at the confluence of several canals. This carnival is a fun and ironic parade that takes place on boats along the canals. It is an opportunity to unwind and have fun in the Emilia-Romagna region.

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