Carnival Matoci, Trentino-Alto Adige, 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
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.
The bilingual (Italian and German) region of Trentino-Alto Adige sits on the border of Switzerland and Austria in northeast Italy. Given its heavily Germanic character we shouldn’t be surprised that Carnevale here is fairly unique.
The village of Valfloriana population about 500 is located some 15 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of Trento. Its Matòci Carnival is named for comical characters dressed in colorful outfits, festooned with bright ribbons and traditional wooden masks that cover their faces, known as "facère". One of the most spectacular events during the carnival period is the "Descent of the Matoci", a tradition here and in surrounding villages. A masked procession leaves the villages to meet at a village square. This descent symbolizes the return to normal life after a difficult winter spent in isolation. There’s music, dancing, and sweets and a masked ball at night.
The village of Campitello di Fassa, population about 750, is located some 40 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Trento as the crow flies, add about 40% if the crow has to take a car. Its Carnevale respects the inhabitants’ Ladin origins. Ladin is a language not to be confused with Latin or with Ladino. One of the best ways for outsiders to catch a glimpse of this culture is to attend this Carnevale or similar ones in nearby villages such as Penia. You’ll love the parade of "Bufòn, Marascons and Lachè". "Bufòn" sports a cone shaped headpiece and long-nosed mask, recites the vices and virtues of the local populace. You’ll enjoy the spectacle, even if you don’t know a word of the language.
Ladin Carnival, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy Carnevale.
The upscale winter resort of Madonna di Campiglio, home to about a thousand people, some 55 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Bolzano, used to host the likes of Emperor Franz Joseph and his hangers-on. If you want a taste of that rarified atmosphere don’t miss its Hapsburg Carnival. If and when you want to change the air there is great skiing and trekking.
Would you believe a carnival centered on a tree? Such is the case for the Grauno Carnivale held in a Val di Cembra village of under 700 some twenty miles (thirty kilometers) north of Trento. The show reflects pre-Christian ancient rites of atonement and fertilization. In the early morning of Mardi Gras the young villagers cut down the most beautiful tree in the forest, remove its branches drag it to the "Busa del Carnival" (a burrow set on high ground), and set it on fire. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.
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 www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com 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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Carnevale, carnival, carnivale season, Trentino-Alto Adige.