Top Carnevale celebrations near Florence for 2017

Mardi Gras madness and more

Kate Mani
January 25, 2017 - 9:37

While Florence’s forecast may not be warming up anytime soon, festivities are in the air again as Tuscany prepares for its annual Carnevale celebrations. Spanning throughout February, Carnevale signifies the ‘last hurrah’ leading up to the somber liturgical season of Lent. The grand finale is Fat (or Shrove) Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Martedì Grasso. With specific dates and information on the individual websites below, there’s a parade or party to suit any mood, whether you’re feeling like...


Being traditional

Viareggio Carnevale 2016 | Via official website

Known as Tuscany’s Carnevale capital, the coastal town of Viareggio is gearing up for not one but five masked parades (February 5, 12, 18, 26, 28). The floats, masked balls, pyrotechnical displays, theatrical shows and parties that will take hold of the city will culminate with the biggest parade at 3pm on Shrove Tuesday. It’s a celebration with historic roots, dating from 1873 when bourgeois citizens donned masks to protest against taxes and mocked the city’s elected representatives by portraying them as giant papier-mâché dolls. Today, local and foreign politicians are still up for satire, alongside public personalities and fairy tale characters in enormous floats and broadcasted on Rai 3. More information here



Celebrating with friends
Santa Croce sull'Arno

Santa Croce sull'Arno carnival writing | Ph. via website


Escape the winter blues with Carnevale in Santa Croce sull'Arno. Back in 1928, looking to brighten up a cold winter, just a dozen friends decided to take 1000 masks to the small town's streets. By one year later, people were coming from all the neighboring towns to take part in the festive event. Past years have seen Santa Croce sull'Arno combine traditional masquerade parades with concerts, exhibitions and films. More information here.



Taking a step back in time

Castiglion Fibocchi

Castiglion Fibocchi Carnevale | Ph. via website


The medieval town of Castiglion Fibocchi, set among the rolling Tuscan hills of Arezzo, offers a Carnevale spectacle with ancient origins (February 12-19). The celebrations were initiated in the 7th century CE when a festival of music and dancing was held to honor the lord of the countryside, nicknamed Bocco. The event was restarted in the 1990s and it now offers an array of beautiful costumes and masks parading through the medieval streets. You’ll recognise a range of characters like Arlechino, the Queen of Hearts and Sheherazade among the 140 masked figures that take part in the floats. The celebrations will kick off on February 12 with the official opening by Re Bocco (King Bocco) and visitors will be able to enjoy food stalls and the parade. The celebrations will reach their climax on February 19 with masked floats, flag-bearers and the announcement of the best mask. More information here.



Planet-friendly partying

Chianciano Terme

Carnevale Ecorinascimentale | Ph. via Facebook

The Florentine environmental society EcoRinascimento is teaming up with the Fondazione Carnevale di Viareggio and the Comune di Chianciano Terme to bring back Italy’s only “eco Carnevale,” where you can have a good time while helping the planet. If it’s anything like last year’s fun, the importance of recycling, creativity and making things by hand will be promoted through free entry for children under 14 who wear costumes made of recycled materials. Adolescents and adults who also do so will receive a discount, with daily prizes available to those with the most creative and ecological mask. Carnevale Ecorinscimentale also has the parades with satirical political figures, markets and dancing and games for children that you expect from Carnevale, with floats bearing costumes made from recycled materials adding an ecological twist. Keep up to date by following the EcoRinascimento Facebook page.






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