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Viareggio Carnival
Photo © Ilaria Giannini
Photo © Ilaria Giannini

5 ideas to experience Carnival in Tuscany

Tuscany during Carnival is satire, irony, smiles and tradition.

Carnival, the most irreverent and funniest festival of the year, comes to break the cold monotony of winter and animates Tuscany with many events for both young and old.

Here are five travel ideas to experience this period with a smile and irony.

Contents
  • 1.
    Viareggio Carnival
  • 2.
    Foiano della Chiana Carnival
  • 3.
    Sons of Bocco Carnival
  • 4.
    Follonica Carnival
  • 5.
    Santacroce Carnival
1.

Viareggio Carnival

The gigantic papier-mâché of Viareggio
The gigantic papier-mâché of Viareggio

Classic, timeless, irreverent. Viareggio Carnival, born in 1873, is one of the best-loved and best-known in Italy and its fascination seems to increase with the passage of time, not only for the gigantic papier-mâché floats that are true works of art, not only for the irreverent satire that mocks politicians and the powerful at every edition, not only for the masked parties that animate all the town's venues for more than a month.

Viareggio Carnival is an institution, madly loved by its citizens, and anyone can breathe the atmosphere of great joy, the sea air, putting aside all problems, if only for a day.

1.

Foiano della Chiana Carnival

Foiano della Chiana Carnival
Foiano della Chiana Carnival

Lovers of tradition can only head to Foiano della Chiana, a historic village in the Valdichiana Aretina that can boast the oldest Carnival in Italy. For five Sundays in a row, allegorical floats made by the four districts - Azzurri, Bombolo, Nottambuli and Rus - parade through the streets accompanied by masquerades, music and dancing. Opening the procession is King Giocondo, a puppet that on the last day of the festival is burnt in the main square in a spectacular ceremony: it is the symbol in the peasant culture of the approaching winter and the incoming spring.

1.

Sons of Bocco Carnival

Sons of Bocco Carnival
Sons of Bocco Carnival

Not far from Arezzo, the picturesque medieval village of Castiglion Fibocchi is the setting for the Carnevale dei Figli di Bocco, a festival with a Venetian flavor animated by two hundred participants dressed in fantastic costumes and with their faces concealed by precious papier-mâché masks. The spectacle of the participants wandering through the alleys of the village is enriched by street artists, theatrical performances and food stands.

1.

Follonica Carnival

Follonica Carnival
Follonica Carnival - Credit: carnevalefollonichese.it

Since February 5, 1910, when a carnival ball was organized in the hall of a hotel, the carnival has enlivened Follonica's winters, acquiring particular importance and vigor especially after World War II, with the creation first of the Maremmano Carnival, then of the Carnevale Follonichese (a term acquired in 1979). Carnival in the coastal town is a challenge between district allegorical floats and above all an event characterized by satire and irony, music and poetry, art and color. At the end of the third Sunday of the parade, the burning of the Carnival King, an enormous papier-mâché mask, closes the event.

1.

Santacroce Carnival

In 1928, some villagers of Santa Croce sull'Arno decided to dress up to brighten up the grey winter days, and they brought allegorical floats pulled by pairs of oxen into the piazza: the Carnevale Santacrocese was born, not a traditional parade of masks and floats but a true spectacle of music and colors, which sees hundreds of handmade masks, often made entirely of leather, the material that is the symbol of Santa Croce, parade through the streets and squares of the historic center. 

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