Tuscany Carnevale Season -2014

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

Arezzo Tuscany

Arezzo Tuscany in carnival sensation

Carnival Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy Carnevale. Some old friends.

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 4th, Carnevale 2015 is on February 17th, but Carnevale season starts earlier. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.

It may surprise you to learn that the Florence Carnevale is by no means the most important one in Tuscany. But it is a good place to start. Sunday is really the best day to enjoy the activities. You’ll find floats departing from Piazza Dante and multigenerational parades in the major squares and along the Lungarno Vespucci. One of the biggest events is the “Florence Carnival in the world” parade from Piazza Ognissanti to Piazza della Signoria that features floats coming from three dozen countries in five continents.

The walled town of Foiano della Chiana in eastern Tuscany claims to be the oldest carnival in Italy. It dates back to 1539. As is often the case, this Carnevale requires almost a year to prepare. In the old days participants threw chestnuts and salt cod to the eager spectators who lined the parade route. History does not record when this largess ceased. The town’s four districts complete for the best float, many of which feature (ore should we say mock out?) well-known personalities. The main square hosts a public reading of the previous year’s major events and then an effigy of Giocondo, King of the Carnival, is burned in the guise of purifying the local population. In contrast the city of Lucca near the Tuscan Riviera has just gotten into the Carnevale business. Their event includes shows, concerts, and parties in beautiful palaces and villas. Lucca is also home to Italy’s largest festival devoted to comic books but that’s in November.

Viareggio, Tuscany in carnival fascination

Carnival Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy Carnevale.

Arezzo, a largely medieval hilltop city of about one hundred thousand in eastern Tuscany hosts the “Carnevale dell’Orciolaia,” whose centerpiece is a parade with floats through this lovely city. You don’t have to be Italian to recognize some of the most popular floats.

Tuscany’s most famous and unusual carnival in Tuscany is held in Viareggio, an elegant Riviera resort about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Florence. This Carnevale is considered to be among Italy’s very best. It first started in 1873 and the locals have never missed a celebration except during the two World Wars. Blacksmiths and carpenters employed by the local shipyards proudly create memorable floats, some of which take months and months to build and can house an unbelievable 200 people. These floats are often satirical and treat a wide range of Italian and international and celebrities. Given the time and effort involved in creating these world-class floats, don’t be surprised that you will pay an admission fee. 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 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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