It’s Carnival time again in Italy!
It’s the time to have a last fling of fun and games before traditionally plunging oneself into Lenten fasts, sack-cloth and penitence.
Bagni di Lucca this year has two carnivals.
There’s a first for the Bagni di Lucca Villa Carnival. It’s called Carnevalvilla. Together with the parish of San Pietro in Corsena, the Red Cross and the local tourist association all streets will be pedestrianised on Saturday, February 6th, and a fantasy world created to appeal to children of all ages. We are promised Umpa Lumpa with sweet distribution, Mago (Wizard) Cilindro, face painting with Sissi, and Masha and her bear plus, of course, the usual stalls selling handicrafts, fripperies, toys etc.
Then there’s the very successful carnival at Fornoli on 14th February which has now run for some years:
Of course, if you’re more ambitious there’s the fabulous Viareggio carnival which runs every week-end with its imaginative floats poking sophisticated fun at Italian politics and everything else in Italy which doesn’t exactly work to plan.
The Venice carnival, which began at the end of last month, is yet another incredible option but be warned: it can get very overcrowded and booking is essential. What is also essential there this year is the inspection of what’s under the mask you’re wearing. Security is tight in the light of recent tragic events in France and elsewhere.
There will be carnivals throughout Italy. Depending where you are check out the list at:
Carnivals from time immemorial have served a double purpose:
First: that of having a good time before the Lent (quaresima) season of atonement where one is supposed to give up something. Two years ago I gave up smoking (it was only a few roll-ups anyway) and now actually try avoiding the fumes of that weed wherever its noxious vapours hit my nose. (Incidentally, new anti-smoking draconian measures have been instituted in Italy today. Just chucking a dog-end in the street could land one with a serious fine or even in the dog-house). Last year I also started my wine-free days in the week (but have forgotten which days they are now). This year I will be giving up bottled water in restaurants since it clearly adds to food-mileage and plastic pollution. (Anyway, there’s no need for bottled water in my part of the world where the local stream can supply the best drinking water possible. It’s the restaurants which are the real culprits and now they are realising that more and more customers are quite happy with tap water).
The second purpose of carnival is flirting at masked balls. Images of Casanova and Don Giovanni creep into one’s consciousness. Anyway, Carnevale comes suitably close to the traditional Easter wedding season so I’m sure that there will be plenty of romance flying in the air especially as February 14 is happening right in the middle of the festivities!
PS To order your own personal carnevale costume there’s this shop in Fornoli you might like to try. It’s next to the vet there: