Blogging about Rome & Lazio | Food | Wine | Travel | Traditions
The History of Rome Carnival - the Roman Carnival began in the Middle Ages and reached its height after the election of Pope Paul III, and, after the transfer of the Papal Residence at Palazzo Venezia, most of the carnival celebrations woud take place in the Historical Centre on Via Lata (now known as Via del Corso).
The Commedia dell'arte, mask parades, games in the main squares, carnival floats, jousting & tournaments, the highly anticipated Berber horse races and the “moccoletti” attracted the entire city's inhabitants, and pilgrims and curious folk from around the known world (at that time such far flung places as Australia were only just being discovered). With the arrival of the House of Savoy in Rome in 1870, the Carnival began to decline, especially because of the many incidents that occurred during the games and the many people who were injured.
The Carnival of Rome took place in Piazza Navona, where recreational performances and fireworks were organised. Piazza del Popolo was the starting point of the most important event of the Carnival: the Berber horse races which ran along Via del Corso and ended at Piazza Venezia.
Today events are a little different, usually with an opening parade in Piazza del Popolo passing through Via Ripetta and Via del Corso, a stage with various perfomers and street artists in Piazza Navona, a Renaissance equestrian show in costume and Baroque fireworks in Piazza del Popolo.
This years' programme has not been issued yet by the local council so we are unable to be specific.
CARNIVALS AROUND LAZIO
We have picked out the largest and most creative carnivals from around the Lazio region.
We expect the carnivals to run from 27th February util 4th March. Rome carnival usually runs for 10 days but official dates have not been issued yet - we will update here as soon as/if we get them.
RONCIGLIONE - VITERBO
Carnival of Ronciglione - 27 February - 4 March
At the foot of the Cimini Mountains, in the heart of Tuscia, is a village full of surprises, among the oldest and most famous of Italy, with origins dating back to the Roman Carnival. Following centuries of the carnival being forbidden, Rociglione reintroduced it in the Renaissance-Baroque period (16th & 17th centuries) and has continued ever since, right up to present day. Masked groups, floats, the town band, majorettes, hussars and the cavalry color and enliven the streetscape of Ronciglione.
ACQUAPENDENTE - VITERBO
Carnevale di Acquapendente - 27 February - 4 March
Parades of floats and masked groups are held during the last two Sundays of carnival, and after the last parade of Mardi Gras is the burning of Carnevalaccio. At sunset everyone meets in the main square for the burning of the effigy, which represents the Carnival spirit; a pagan custom symbolising purification, leading us - through fire - to the period of Lent.
CIVITA CASTELLANA - VITERBO
Carnevale Civitonico - 27 Feb, 2 Mar, 4 Mar.
Parade of floats and masked groups celebrate the Mardi Gras and the burning of the famous "Puccio" the great paper mache totem representing "Carnival King" with music, dancing and bedlam performed by costumed and masked figures. The Carnival of Civita Castellana is rooted in the ancient past, dating back to the pre-Roman Faliscan civilization.
CANEPINA - VITERBO
Carnevale Canepinese - 27 Feb, 2 Mar, 4 Mar.
Parade of floats pass through the streets of the town, arriving at Piazzale I Maggio where a totem of King Carnival "O puppet" will be burned.
SUTRI - ROMA
Antico Carnevale Sutrino - 27 Feb & 4 Mar.
For five days there are alternating parades, games and dancing in the square as well as masquerades and dances until the conclusion of the festivities on the evening of Shrove Tuesday with the extraordinary spectacle of the burning of King Carnival. A long procession of masks and screaming crowd accompanies Carnival King lying on a bier in the last joyful journey that ends in the town square, where he is burned. Around the bonfire crowd indulges in frenetic dancing to the sound of hypnotic wild music.
LATINA - various towns
Il Carnevale Pontino - 27 Feb - 4 Mar (divided between the towns below)
The Pontine Carnival is held in agreement between the towns of Sabaudia, Pontinia, San Felice Circeo and Terracina. The event represents a moment of strong aggregation of the towns ensuring the conservation of good, healthy folk traditions. Parade floats pass through towns and villages of the whole district.
AMATRICE - RIETI
Carnevale Amatriciano Martedi Grasso (Mardi Gras) - 1 Mar & 4 Mar.
Allegorical floats and masked groups parade throught the colourful streets of Amatrice accompanied by local sweets and music.