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Home The parties, witticisms and jests of Carnival!

The parties, witticisms and jests of Carnival!

Carnival JPG

Carnival celebrations have their origins in ancient festivals, such as the Greek Dionysia or the Roman Saturnalia, with their temporary suspension of social obligations, hierarchies and orders, as well as their witty tricks and at times total debauchery.


Over time, the excess of these festivities has been toned down, but their playful spirit,  costumes, satire and jokes have survived.  In fact, during Carnival, in a tribute to its burlesque spirit, the rule is that “any joke is a good one”.  And then there are the fancy dress dances and especially the parades of allegorical floats with fantastic sets which will enliven the squares and streets throughout Emilia Romagna. And all of this will be accompanied by fried sweets.


The Carnival celebration in Cento (FE), on schedule for Sunday, February 10, 17, 24 and March 3, is surely the most famous in Italy with its five hundred participants; it is a whirlwind of colors, masks and events in the historic downtown of this city.


However, also the Carnival celebration in Busseto (PR) on schedule for Sunday January 27, and February 3, 10, and 17, is quite well known with its gigantic floats, accompanied by dancing and phantasmagorical choreography, folk bands and historic parades. This year the Carnival of Busseto celebrates its 132nd edition and invites everyone to visit with the festival of Verdi's hometown, for the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of this great Maestro.


The medieval town of Castell'Arquato, near Piacenza, will surprise you this year with its Carnaval Venitien which will evolve around the theme of seduction and betrayal. A real good time in which anyone can take part, with parodies of the art of deception, techniques for courting someone, duels and even aphrodisiac potions, like when Giacomo Casanova lived. February 16-17.

But there are also less well known festivals, absolutely worth a visit, such as the celebration in Castelnuovo di Sotto, the most important event in the province of Reggio Emilia, which has its roots in peasant tradition. The spirit of this festival has always been expressed best by carnival pranks such as the shows and masquerades symbolized by "Castlein", with his hat down over his ears, his farming boots, and his "armpit high" socks. January 27, February 3, 10, 17.

Meanwhile the Carnival in Ravenna, which is always full of events for the whole family, will continue with parades, parties, workshops dedicated to costume making and guided tours for the whole month of February until March 3.

So, there is something for everyone.  And as this festival is celebrated in many towns and cities, we invite you not to miss the best events in the region.

Last modified Jan 25, 2017

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