Umbria Carnevale Season - 2014

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

Sant Eraclio Umbria

Sant Eraclio Umbria in carnival season

Children's Carnival Sant' Eraclio, Umbria, 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.

The city of Sant'Eraclio, Umbria is located some 25 miles (40†kilometers) southeast of the regional capital, Perugia. Its Carnevale was originated back in 1542 by the Olivetani friars of Mormonzone, who lived in a nearby convent that has long been abandoned. These forward-looking friars felt that the local populace deserved their own merry-making on the streets to balance the local gentryís exclusive palace parties. Good for them! Originally Sant'Eraclio Carnevale meant parades of oxen-drawn carts festooned with branches and flowers, and the people dancing and singing to the music of flutes and trumpets played by men and women in the traveling carts. But during the Seventeenth Century the Church decried this Carnevale as sinful and banned it. I am under the impression that the local gentryís exclusive palace parties were not banned. About a century later Carnevale was allowed to resume, but in this region only in Sant'Eraclio. Carnivale continued here without interruption until the Second World War.

The Masquerade was held on Shrove Tuesday but due to post-war security measures forbidding the wearing of masks in public it didnít last too long. Todaysí allegorical floats are made from papier machť and the street parade is accompanied by the sound of dancing and singing, as in centuries past. And the local gentry, as everyone else, still has parties, but perhaps not in the palaces.

Carnevalandia Umbria in carnival splendor

Carnival Carnevalandia Ponterio, Umbria, Italy Carnevale.

Carnevale dei Bambini!! (Childrensí Carnival). Thatís how the hilltop village of Acquasparta in southern Umbria describes its annual event. The floats and masks evoke cartoons and kidsí films, and there are free rides on trains, carriages, merry-go-rounds and a double-decker bus. Itís a beautiful carnival and local food specialties are a major attraction. Unfortunately, we canít say the same about the late Renaissance Palazzo Cesi, now belonging to the University of Perugia, which is undergoing slow renovations. Note to the local gentry, how about opening up your pocketbooks and the Palazzo?

Spoleto, a city of some 40 thousand, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Perugia has been holding a Carnevale for more than 180 years although they did manage to miss five years in the 1980s. Itís pretty standard fare with allegorical floats, masked paraders and musicians, and a procession from the historic city center to Piazza Garibaldi, named for the hero of Italian Unification. You may prefer the Guardea Carnevale in that town of 2 thousand located about 35 miles (60 kilometers) south of Perugia. It has a reputation for excellence and there are several nighttime events. Other Umbrian localities sporting Carnevale events include San Sisto (with a nighttime parade), Ponterio (they call it Carnevalandia), and Todi. 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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