The Carnival of Viareggio was born in 1873, when a group of artisans and sculptors started building astonishing carriages. It soon became a popular party for a joyful city. At first it was held in Via Regia, in the heart of the old town. Then, at the beginning of the twentieth century, it moved to the long street along the seaside, growing in size and popularity year after year.
During World War One the Carnival stopped until 1921 and then again during the World War Second. In 1946, the Carnival of Viareggio flourished again, returning even more beautiful than before.
The symbol of Viareggio’s Carnival is Burlamacco (see the mask in white, black and red below), which was created in 1930 by Umberto Bonetti.
In 2001 the new “Cittadella del Carnevale” (Carnival’s Citadel) was inaugurated: it is an extraordinary architectural complex entirely dedicated to the creation and preservation of the Carnival of Viareggio. It has sixteen hangars, where the allegorical floats are built, overlooking a giant elliptical square.
The Cittadella is also the place where during the summer the biggest outdoor events take place. Here visitors can find two museums, one dedicated to the history of the Carnival floats and the other to Carnevalotto, a valuable collection of works of art created by contemporary designer.