Vai ai contenuti | Vai al campo di ricerca | Vai al menù principale

Home At Carnival... every prank counts. The parties in 2017 in Emilia-Romagna

At Carnival... every prank counts. The parties in 2017 in Emilia-Romagna

The celebration of Carnival has its roots in ancient festivals, such as Greek Dionysus festivals or Roman Saturnalia, characterized by momentary suspensions of social obligations, turning order and hierarchies on their head, and by funny pranks and sometimes by total debauchery.


With the passing of time, excesses have become more limited and today the fun elements of this ancient festival have survived: fancy dress and satire. In fact, for Carnival, in honor of its rascally spirit, the rule is that "every prank counts". And then there are the dances in fancy dress but most importantly the parades with fantastic floats that also in Emilia Romagna will enliven the squares and streets of many downtowns. All of this will be accompanied by delicious fried sweets, as is the tradition.


The peak of these festivities occurs on the days of Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday, the last Thursday and Tuesday before the beginning of Lent, which this year will be February 23 and 28, but along the Via Emilia the opportunities to celebrate will last the entire month of February. So let’s dive into this kaleidoscopic celebration of the senses and excess along a real parade of the most interesting fancy dress events.



Kicking things off is the historic Carnival in Pieve di Cento, near Bologna. On the three Sundays of February 12, 19 and March 5 the carnival associations of the town will display their allegorical creations, big floats ready to parade in front of the public along the streets of downtown. Barbaspein is the star of this event, the Pieve character of a poor pleasure-seeker who is half philosopher half drunk, with a messy beard and a weakness for good food and wine. Dancing groups, marching bands and groups in costume will fill the air with music and joy.


Two carnivals, one near Parma and one near Ferrara, are famous even beyond the national borders.


The Carnival of Busseto, known for its gigantic papier-mâché floats, will offer nonstop fun with joyful folk bands, historic parades, a fun park and games for children. The "Angolo del Ghiottone" will offer tastings of fried cake and many local products such as meats and “spalla cotta”, a local cold cut. This year the Gran Carnevale celebrates its 136th edition and invites everyone to visit the historic Verdi lands. February 12, 19, 26 and March 5.

The Carnival of Cento (Fe), also called the Carnival of Europe, with its hundreds of participants, attracts fans from all over the world in a whirl of colors, masks, and events in the lovely historic downtown. The opening day on February 12 will offer an exciting beginning with the arrival in Cento of "Mr Enjoy" Gianluca Vacchi, the social media king and an icon of Italian lifestyle in the world. The final Sunday of carnival will host the Gran Finale with the awards ceremony for the winning floats, the traditional will and testimony, and in the Piazzale della Rocca, the evocative burning of the Tasi, a traditional Cento mask, which will end with an exciting pyrotechnic music show. Besides the fantastic parade, you can also enjoy music performances, famous guests and especially the group of Brazilian dancers and drummers, representing the historical twinning of the famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro with that of Cento. Also this year there will be many sports events, learning labs and cultural aperitifs on schedule. The official broadcaster for the 2017 edition will once again be Radio Bruno. February 12, 19, 26 and March 5, 12.


Next we come to Santarcangelo di Romagna, a delightful town just inland from Rimini, where the preparations are underway for the 15th Masked Parade with a parade of floats, trains, groups in costume, dance schools, and crazy vehicles in a mix of joy and folly. Here there will be plenty of sweets and Piazza Ganganelli will become a hotbed of sweets and crepes, hot chocolate and mulled wine, doughnuts and fried dough. February 12.

Starting also on Sunday, February 12 and then continuing also on the Sundays of February 19 and 26, with the last date on March 5, is the carnival of Castelnovo di Sotto, in the province of Reggio Emilia. Here the first edition dates far back, to 131 years ago, when it came out of the peasant culture and society in the form of carnival events such as silly plays or masked dances. The creation of big papier-mâché floats is a real art form that here represents an entire year’s work and planning. "Castlein" is the symbolic character here, with his hat pulled down over his ears, big peasant shoes and his socks pulled up high, and you can find out more at the “Museum of Carnival Masks”.


Parties, puns and pranks make up the carnival in Ravenna, an event for the whole family. Alongside the traditional parade of allegorical floats there will be workshops dedicated to masks at the House of Marionettes Museum and at Artificerie Almagià as well as the puppet show at Teatro del Drago. A magic that will enchant you all month. February 12, 18-19, 25-26 and March 5.


Let’s go back to the province of Bologna where the chances to wear a costume and go around in masks are many.


In San Matteo della Decima on February 19 and 26 we will blow out the 129th candle of this edition which every year hosts the agonizing competition "Gonfalone storico di Re Fagiolo di Castella", the trophy inspired by the local stock figure. The competition of floats will reach its peak in the square with the “spillo” (al spéll, in Bologna dialect): an exciting and unexpected transformation of the floats which, by way of incredible mechanisms, open up and reveal their hidden allegorical meaning.


Not far away at all, the party continues with the historic carnival in San Giovanni in Persiceto. Here there is the same tradition, that of the “spillo,” the moment in which the colorful architectonic structures transform unexpectedly. More than one hundred years old – this year this celebration is in its 143rd edition – the carnival of San Giovanni in Persiceto is among the oldest and most famous among the Bolognese carnivals. It is traditionally held on the two Sundays before Lent, on February 19 and 26, under the sarcastic and sacrilegious “symbol” of its typical character, the peasant Bertoldo.

On the same says, the floats will also parade in San Pietro in Casale. The highlight of the party is the reading of the "will" of King Sandròn Spaviròn, the traditional character of this town who since 1871 has been entertaining audiences with his cutting satire. This is the moment of the year when Sandròn reenacts in a funny way the people who have done something important for the town, whether it be positive or negative. At the end of his sacrilegious will, the puppet representing this character is burned. Monday, February 27 there will be the Children’s Carnival.

Also Imola will pay tribute to masks with the parade starting on February 26 from the track of the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Raceway, then continuing down Viale Dante, via Mazzini and ending right downtown. Besides the competition Carnival of Fanta-vehicles, there are many other events and photography exhibitions on schedule, and small children can enjoy the Children and Kids Carnival (Tuesday, February 28) and the workshops dedicated to them.


Continue along the most colorful and fun parade of the year


Last modified Feb 06, 2017

Document Actions

Emilia Romagna Welcome (EN)

Previsioni Meteo


Suggestions, ideas and activities
expositions, art, flavors and fun.