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How Italian Carnival is celebrated

Carnevale is an ancient tradition which has origins in pagan festivals and rituals.
The term comes from the Latin carnem levare (to remove the meat), a reference to the ban on eating meat during Lent; the latter indeed is celebrated 40 days before Easter.

How is Carnival celebrated in Italy?

In Italy, Carnival is celebrated in many different ways, depending on the region and the city, with distinct customs and traditions. The carnival celebrations somewhere may go on for a couple of weeks. Is celebrated with parades, masquerade balls and parties, entertainment, music and food! Food in Italy is something holy and during Carnival you have the opportunity to taste foods that are not usually cooked during the year; considering that before Lent to eat binge is allowed, let’s eat all these specialities without feeling guilty!
Take a look at the main Carnival celebrations, different for traditions and dishes.

Venice Carnival

Visit Venice in this period means taking part in a truly exceptional happening. Infact Venice is the best italian city for traditional carnival masks and elaborate costumes, which attract tourists all over Italy and even beyond. Walking through the streets of Venice you can imagine to relive the 18th century Venice. FOOD: Galani (in other parts of Italy also called Chiacchere, Frappe), are a sort of sweet thin strips fried in hot oil with a dusting of icing sugar on top.

Ivrea Carnival (Piedmont)

The Carnival of Ivrea has ancient origins dating back to Middle Age. It is characterized by folkloristic “orange battle”, that make this Carnival different from any other. It is the biggest food fight in Italy, in which oranges throwing symbolizes the struggle of people against the nobility. The battle is between the teams of Aranceri on foot (representing ancient weapons and stones) against Aranceri riding in carts (representing tyrant’s ranks). FOOD: Fagioli grassi is a dish served on the streets during Carnival: it’s sausages and beans cooked in huge cauldrons over wood fires for about 24 hours.

Acireale Carnival (Sicily)

Considered the most beautiful and fascinating of Sicily, it offers a plenty of attractions: papier-mache float able to opening and doubling their size in width and height, floats adorned with tens of thousands of flowers to compose subjects, also animated and illuminated. In addition you could enjoy many other shows, events and concerts that will animate the evenings and days of February until Shrove Tuesday. FOOD: Pignolata are small fried dough balls covered with a honey glaze.

These are just some of the most important Italian Carnivals. We have to remember also Putignano Carnival (Puglia,)in the sign of modernity; Cento one, (Ferrara), twinned with the amazing Rio De Janerio Carnival; and last but not least Viareggio Carnival, a one of a kind celebration with a strong satirical component.

And what about Rome? With our Rome Day Tour you can discover also the Carnival of the eternal city.