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Ten Reasons to Visit Italy in February

Updated on June 20, 2017

Italy has more history, ancient ruins and medieval castles than many other countries combined, but the reason you should visit the country is winter is that February is carnival time in Italy. During the entire month, Venice, Cento, Viareggio, Ivrea and other cities of the republic become alive with colorful celebrations. If you love music, dancing, costumes and partying, then this is the time to visit this sun-kissed land in the north of the Mediterranean Sea.

Here are the top ten reasons to visit Italy in February.

1. Venice Carnival (Jan 31 - Feb 17, 2015)

The biggest and the most elaborate of the Italian carnivals is the Venice Carnevale, which is also one of the top carnivals in the world. During the carnival, many fun-filled events and entertainments are held nightly throughout Venice and people wander about the streets and canals of the city wearing colorful costumes. The Venice Carnevale starts two weeks before the carnivals in other cities.

2. Viareggio Carnival (February 1, 8, 15 and 22):

Every weekend in February, Viareggio, a city that lies on the coast of Tuscany, holds one of the biggest carnivals in Italy. The highlights of the carnival are giant, allegorical paper maché floats used in parades on Shrove Tuesday and the three Sundays before and two weekends following. Festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place throughout the carnival season both in the city. For the duration of the carnival, restaurants in the city have special carnival menus.

3. Brazilian Carnival in Cento (February 5 - March 4)

The Brazilian Carnival in Cento, a picturesque city in the Emilia Romagna region, emulates the most famous Carnival in the world, the Rio Carnival in Brazil. Many of the materials used in the carnival are brought directly from Brazil, so it has a very Brazilian feel about it. The highlight of the carnival is the parade in which participants march on foot or ride on their motorcycles and 30,000 pounds of candy are thrown at the spectators. The float that is declared the winner of the parade is taken to Brazil after the carnival.

4. Orange Throwing Carnival in Ivrea (February 17 - 25):

The town of Ivrea, in the Piedmont region, hosts a unique carnival rooted in medieval traditions. The highly of the carnival is the orange throwing battle in the center of the city after the parade. The battle takes place from Sunday to Tuesday and culminates in the burning of the scarli (big poles erected in the middle of the city's square) on the last day of the carnival.

5. Acireale Carnival (January 31 - February 17)

The city of Acireale in Sicily holds one of the most beautiful carnivals in Italy in which exquisitely beautiful flower and paper-mache' allegorical floats are paraded through the town's Baroque center. There are several such parades during carnival period. Other events in the carnival include music, chess tournament, children's events and fireworks. The Acireale Carnival was fists held in 1601.

6. Roman Carnival in Pont St. Martin (February 16 - 27, 2015)

The city of Pont St. Martin in the Val d'Aosta region of northwestern Italy, celebrates carnival in ancient Roman style with participants dressed in togas and Roman army uniform. There is even a chariot race in some years. The carnival culminates on Shrove Tuesday Evening with the hanging and burning an effigy of the devil on the city's 2,000 years old bridge.

7. Verona Carnival (February 21, 2015):

Verona, a beautiful city not far from Venice and famed as the town where Romeo and Juliet lived and fell in love, is home to one of the oldest carnivals in Italy which dates back to 1615. The highlight of the carnival is a huge parade with more than 500 floats where 15,000 kg of sweets are thrown to the spectators.

8. Albanian Carnivals in Calabria (February):

The southern Italian region of Calabria has many Albanian settlements and they hold their own carnivals in February. The Carnival of Pollino in Castrovillari is known for its women participants dressed in intricate local costumes. The carnival in Calabria in Montalto Uffugo is famous for its wedding parade in which men wear women's dresses.

9. Equestrian Carnival and Jousting Tournament in Sardinia (February 15 - 17):

The town of Oristano in the island of Sardinia holds the equestrian carnival in which a costumed parade, horse races and a re-enactment of a medieval jousting tournament are held.

10. Carnivals in the Barbagia Mountain Villages of Sardinia (February)

The island of Sardinia is steeped in tradition and the villages in the Barbagia Mountain hold their own unique carnivals that are influenced by ancient cults and rituals of the area.

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