Val d'Aosta Carnevale Season - 2014

Let's go to Carnevale in Val d'Aosta this season...

Verrès Val d'Aosta

Verrès Val d'Aosta in carnival ecstasy

Carnival Verrès, Val d'Aosta, 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 4th, Carnevale 2015 is on February 17th, but Carnevale season starts earlier. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.

The region of Val d’Aosta tucked in the mountainous northwest corner of Italy bordering on France and Switzerland is by far the smallest of the twenty Italian regions. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy Carnevale in this bilingual area (Italian and French). Here are some of the many examples.

The town of Verrès whose population is about 2500 holds a Historical Carnival Pageant and Parade that manages to attract thousands of visitors. Carnevale here recalls the Fifteenth Century fight for the inheritance of the aristocrat Francesco di Challand between his beautiful daughters. On the last Saturday prior to Carnevale, a costumed delegation marches to the Town Hall, where the Mayor presents Caterina with a golden key, making her the Lady of the Manor. She begins her reign by inviting the crowd to festivities within the castle, in an attempt to gain the support of the populace. The celebration lasts for three days, culminating in a very colorful carnival parade on Tuesday.

The town of Pont-Saint-Martin whose population approximates 4000 holds a unique Roman Carnival in which toga-clad tribunes, senators, legions, guards and nymphs celebrate Carnival with a real chariot race! Carnevale terminates with the hanging and burning of a straw devil under the Saint-Martin bridge. Part of the tradition relates that Lys the river nymph was angry at the people so she flooded the river hoping to destroy the village. But when the flood reached the bridge it abated thanks to the people's prayers.

Courmayeur Val d'Aosta

Courmayeur Val d'Aosta. All this and Carnevale too.

In the jet setters’ ski resort of Courmayeur, population 4000, which, as the ads put it, is on the sunny side of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) Carnevale means traditional folk dances welcoming the arrival of spring. Major players include the bear looking for his shadow, the mule whose tail sweeps away the wicked winds, and lots of tiny mirrors that frighten off evil spirits. When you’re tired of Carnevaling you can always hit the ski slopes or vice versa. The town of Nus, population 3000, holds a historical (Middle-Ages) Carnevale whose centerpiece is the municipal band leading a procession of masked, costumed villagers accompanied by some great, allegorical floats. There is free soup for everyone.

In the summer resort of Saint-Vincent, population 5000, the focus is on the Children's Carnival complete with a Child-Mayor who rules the roost with his or her little buddies for eleven days. Watch your step or a “little guardian” can fine you but unlike the usual circumstances all proceeds go to charity. You may want to try your luck at the Casino de la Vallée, where you may get the chance to hobnob with the jet setters. 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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