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Carnival of Viareggio

Updated on March 29, 2011

The Viareggio Carnival is considered one of the most important carnivals in Italy and Europe. The carts, which are the largest and most lively of the world, parading along the promenade of Viareggio. The Viareggio Carnival is not only the most spectacular Italian feast, but it is artistic and organizational skills of the Italians in the world. Three of the 2011 show broke all records, were in fact more than 325,000 people to applaud the wagons of cards that have marched along the seafront promenade of Viareggio.

The History Of The Carnival Of Viareggio

The tradition of the parade in Viareggio dates back to 1873, when a few rich families decided to dress up in protest against the excessive fees that were forced to pay. Since then every year this show eliminates the discontent of many people and at the end of the century, appeared in the triumphal wagons.

World War I seems to destroy the Carnival in Viareggio, which instead turned out to be more beautiful and grand. The break lasted six years of war. The event resumed in 1921 and floats paraded on two wonderful sea avenues. In 1971 he played the first carnival of the local dock. During the third millennium is expected big news with the wagons of cards that are enriched with new technologies to create increasingly complex movements and effects.

Sport and Culture

The World Youth Soccer Tournament

During the carnival events is also a major youth soccer tournament, "Coppa Carnevale", also called Viareggio Tournament, born in 1949 on the initiative of CGC Viareggio. The starting point is 1948, when there was a national tournament to ten teams representing four companies and six bars. Since the first edition of the tournament was characterized as "under 21" and gradually over time has become more and more prestige at international level, with the arrival of teams extracontinentali Viareggio. In 1978 he participated in a team tournament in Beijing and this was the first contact sport of communist China with Western Europe. The winning teams of as many issues are AC Milan and Fiorentina, with 8 victories each.

Festivities and Traditions

Everything is accompanied by the Carnival balls and masquerades that have ancient origins, long before the birth of masked. In the '20s were famous for the balls 'color', parties in which women had to wear a suit of colors indicated, while the men wore tuxedos, the decorations, confetti and streamers in the colors were laid down. Spaces as the Prince of Piedmont, and the Royal Hotel on the Promenade Cafe chantant Margaret were the ideal forum for such parties and the latter in his local in 1932 began the tradition of the party in costume with a "dance of the eighteenth century powdered ". In years to come remember the balls of La Stampa, the Red Cross and Lions, the latter a non-profit organizations that often are actively involved today in the life of the Carnival. Today, the balls are local parties during the weekend of masked on the waterfront. Street fairs are accompanied by music, masks and lots of fun.


To coincide with the carnival period are held in four districts of the town (Torre del Lago, Marco Polo, and Cross Dock Green) the districts of the Carnival of Viareggio. Similar to Carnival day the districts see the lack of wagons, but a large number of masks on foot. For the city streets are set up booths, ski club and dining facilities where you can dine on dishes of fish and other local specialties.

Carnival and Art

The ratio of the Carnival of Viareggio and art has always been very close, as evidenced by the many contributions of artists like Lorenzo Viani, Renato Santini, Uberto Bonetti, Sergio Staino, Dario For and Jean-Michel Folon. Lorenzo Viani, Viareggio famous painter, who wrote about the Carnival illuminating pages, contributed actively to the implementation of the wagon in 1911 "Triumph of Life" by Domenico Ghiselli, we witness the decoration with a gallery of allegorical figures of the panels of the base . Renato Santini, another painter of the city, approaching the world of paper mache in 1924, during the preparation of masks for the Carnival of Viareggio, operates a number of wagons from the 1947 ("Theater of Life") until 1956 with the wagon "A time of mambo." In the new millennium faces a Carnival of big names: they are those of the Nobel laureate Dario For, who has in the past two magicians inspired papier-mâché as Umberto Cinquini and Stefano, who describe their wagon with the brutality that makes the war on children, Jean Michel Folon, the great Belgian artist who died recently, which has given so much to Versilia, where he was in love, and with its famous pastel signed the official poster for the Carnival of 2000. The MP Carlo Carli (lead author) and others, 4 November 2003 presented to the Chamber of Deputies, the bill "Establishment of the Museum of Carnival." In this proposal it is expected that the museum system will mesh spaces and structures of ownership 'public and private spaces located in the towns of Viareggio and Venice, as well as in any other location' of the country where there is evidence related to Carnival. Article 2 of the initiative Parliamentary Carli and others, discusses the purpose 'of the museum system.

Papier Mache

The cardboard is a preparation consisting essentially of water, glue, chalk and paper, the manufacturing process starts by creating a clay model. With a plastic cast on this model you get the negative of the mold, in which they are applying the strips of paper that have been previously soaked in a mixture of water and glue. Thanks to this material float makers can shape and very large volumes and masses, thanks to the lightness of the hollow forms, the wagon is a spectacular self-propelled. The strips are then made to join the cast, which then need many hours to dry.

Following the work comes off of cardboard and, having polished with sandpaper, we proceed to decorating with acrylic or tempera, which are covered by a further gloss varnish for protection. The first tank was made of papier mache in Viareggio in 1925: "The knights of the Carnival" by Antonio D'Arliano. Currently one of the great masters of the cardboard is recognized that with Arnaldo Galli Silvano Avanzini has worked for the construction of props in the films of Federico Fellini's Casanova and as Boccaccio '70, NA Ekberg building measures enormous. Papier-mâché masks of Viareggio teachers have framed the opening ceremony of Italy in '90 and the closing of the XX Olympic Winter Games.

The Citadel


Where Does The Magic Of The Carnival

The new headquarters building of the floats, the complex of the Citadel, was inaugurated on December 15, 2001 according to the design of Francesco Tomassi. It is located in the north of the town, the wagons are in hangars that can be visited by groups and individuals not only during the carnival period. In addition, this complex is also a center of culture and entertainment, with open spaces that can be used all year: the elliptical piazza bounded by the same hangar is a great location for concerts and other events, it was in fact used for the traditional Festival Gaber Dedicated to artist and numerous concerts, musicals and world-class throughout the summer. Inside however was made a museum and a guided tour on the history of carnival in Viareggio. On May 13, 2010 the City Council of Viareggio, in order to cover the cost of the municipal budget for 2010, authorized the sale of the Citadel of the Carnival to a bank with a simultaneous leasing Foundation Carnival of Viareggio.


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    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub on Carnival of Viareggio, it does sound like it is a very fun Carnival!

      Awesome hub !!!

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 7 years ago from Florida

      Sounds like a real fun experience.