2017 Viareggio Carnival Preview

The final touches on a Donald Trump float

Feb. 12 (3 pm), 18 (5 pm), 26 & 28 (3 pm), March 5 (3 pm): VIAREGGIO CARNIVAL. Viale Mazzini, Viareggio. Admission: 15 euro for the first & last date, otherwise 18 euro, 10 – 13 euro for children 7 – 12, under 7 free.

Carnival is finally upon us, and soon the streets will be alive with familiar sights and smells, lights and costumes. Viareggio, the “Carnival capital” coastal town, will host an array of events to bolster the spirit of all who seek a fantastic and traditional experience.

Every weekend for the entire month of February is brimming with activities for the young and old: from night parties, fireworks and balls, to sporting events, theatrical performances, and all the food imaginable. The most exciting feature, which summons guests from around the world, is the annual Float Parade.

Envisioned and built by the artistic minds of Viareggio, these building sized vehicles offer a satirical view of some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Amongst the crawling behemoths is “Chinatown streets” by Roberto Vannucci, which is a representation of China’s new found authority as the world’s leading superpower. “Ursa Major” by Carlo Lombardi, showcases a massive mother polar bear in her fight against the melting ice caps and global warming. “Bang bang” by Umberto and Stefano Cinquini is an effective caricature of the newest President of the United States. It would almost be a pity not to have Trump’s questionable new status as a world leader depicted in such a truly awesome affair.

As the parade marches on the size of the floats decrease in size, but the parodies all stay relevant. People dressed in relatable attire dance around or atop of the works of art, all hoping to help win the prize for best in show. But it’s not just the volunteers who don costumes. Anyone who goes to partake in the festivities is encouraged to dress in costume. Whether it be a Carnival mask or Harlequin outfit, now is the time in Italy to put on your brightest.

Large festive parties take place during the weekend, with music, lights, dancing in the square and food stalls to delight in traditional Viareggio flavors. The Marco Polo district will organize the first local feast, scheduled from Friday, February 10th to Sunday the 12th.  

Do not miss this chance to celebrate one of Italy’s most exuberant traditions.  Wear a mask, have a ball, and prepare for jubilance as the 144th Viareggio Carnival begins.  (carson cecil)