Molise Carnevale Season - 2014

Let's go to Carnevale in Molise this season...

Castelnuovo del Volturno, Molise

Castelnuovo del Volturno Molise in carnival night

Carnival Castelnuovo del Volturno, Molise, 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.

Molise is a small region of central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Carnevale here tends to have somber aspects, arguably more so than in much of the rest of Italy. We’ll do things a little different here than in most of the other articles in this series. We will focus on the most significant, often the darkest aspect of Carnevale in several villages and small towns.

Castelnuovo del Volturno is a village of some 250 inhabitants. Carnevale here centers around a man in a deer costume, dressed in rough skins whose face is covered in black and sports horns. Deer Man struggles with a masked man known as “Pulcinella” and escapes looking for food. He is caught by a hunter who beats him. In another version Deer Man wreaks havoc among the cattle until stopped by the saintly Friar Martin. He is then resurrected, an act that purifies him and the entire community whose sins he symbolizes. The villages of Carpinone, Forli del Sannio, and Roccasicura celebrate Carnevale by putting on trail a carnival puppet known as “Fantoccio”. He is found guilty and burnt at the stake. In the village of Sant'Agapito his smouldering corpse is thrown off a cliff.

In the village of Tufara Carnevale starts with a street festival featuring joyous groups of painted, masked musicans. But storm clouds are gathering with a procession of the devil, the central figure of this Carnevale, accompanied by several figures dressed in white who keep him in chains until the evening’s trail. Can you guess how the trial ends? Soldiers actually fire several live shots, just to make sure that this devil gets his due.

Tufara Molise in carnival masks

Carnival Tufara, Molise, Italy Carnevale.

A less violent activity is the "cheese game" held in the small town of Vinchiaturo. Competing teams throw large rounds of cheese down the street. Let’s hope that nobody gets hurt. Let’s also hope that this delicious Italian cheese doesn’t go to waste. Another gastronomical event is "La Raviolata". This event features the famous Scapoli ravioli, served to the hungry masses on the last Sunday of Carnevale in the village of that name.

For many Molise villages and towns Carnivale centers around a puppet dressed in black, with flax in his hand and a potato behind with seven chicken feathers attached. He is often suspended from balconies or from wires hanging in the yards. Even if it’s after Carnevale don’t miss the Good Friday processions in Campodipietra, Ferrazzano, Riccia, and Termoli. 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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