Sant'Eraclio Emilia-Romagna Carnevale Season - 2014

Emilia-Romagna Carnevale Season - 2014

Let's go to Carnevale in Emilia-Romagna this season...

Cento Emilia-Romagna

Cento Emilia-Romagna in carnival masks

Carnival Cento, Emilia-Romagna, Italy Carnevale.

It doesn't matter whether you call it Carnival, Carnevale, or Mardi Gras. There's nothing like a Carnival celebration to help banish those winter blues. Italy is one of the best places to view and participate in a Carnevale vacation. Everywhere you will find Carnevale masks, costumes, allegorical floats, special food and wine. And interestingly enough, each Italian region does Carnevale differently. What are you waiting for?

This fabulous celebration occurs on the Tuesday 40 days before Easter so the date varies. Carnevale 2014 is on March 4, Carnevale 2015 is on February 17, but Carnevale season starts earlier. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.

Emilia-Romagna is widely considered to be the gastronomic capital of Italy, and you better believe that it has a lot of competition. Its regional capital and largest city is Bologna, which brings a very ungastronomic sausage to mind. The city of Cento, population 35 thousand, is located 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest of Bologna. It is home to the historic Cento Carnival of Europe, which runs on five consecutive Sundays attracting over 300,000 people. Since 1993 the Cento Carnival has been twinned with the Rio Carnival.

The Cento painter Gian Francesco Barbieri, known as "Guercino" depicted the Cento Carnevale in the early Seventeenth Century. Unfortunately the historic Carnevale was often a center of abuse and violence. The modern version started after World War II but it has really gained popularity and scope in the last twenty years. Among its central attractions are the allegorical floats that are some of the most impressive in all Europe.

Busseto Emilia-Romagna in carnival masks

Carnival Busseto, Emilia-Romagna, Italy Carnevale. Is everybody hungry?

These "Monuments of papier-m‚chť" glorifying fantasy, gaiety, and satire may attain 20 feet (6 meters) wide and 60 feet (20 meters) long. And there are hundreds and hundreds of such floats, many of which are outfitted with complex mechanical and hydraulic systems. The float processions are accompanied by snake dancing. Of course many of the floats refer to local and Italian personalities but even if you havenít the vaguest notion of who is Italyís prime minister (Silvio Berlusconi, who does manage to make it into the news from time to time), youíll enjoy and often understand the floats. An extra attraction are the candies, chocolates, and confetti generously distributed to the onlookers, as if the visual and auditory spectacles are not enough.

Busseto is a small town of about 7 thousand in the Parma subregion, known for great hams and Parmesan cheese. This town is closely associated with the famous composer Giuseppe Verdi. Itís also home to a Carnevale that started well over a century ago. The heyday was in the 1930 when the audience was estimated at 30 thousand. Today things are slower but that doesnít mean you shouldnít give it a try. You may even prefer smaller crowds to Centoís monster event. Busseto Carnevale is Sunday only event, held for four weeks running. One of its major focuses is on local food. You may try Culatello, a traditional ham that spends part of its maturation process in a pig bladder, hot Spalla Cotta (cured pork shoulder), other cured meats and Torta Fritta, savory fried dough often accompanied by cheese or meat. Enjoy the local wine but donít expect it to be as good as those fabulous Parma cured meat and cheese. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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