By | February 2, 2015

Venice holds the most famous one, but several Italian cities from North to South made of it a reason of proud, taking it as their own symbol and with it attracting visitors from all over the world. We are referring to Carnival, the two-week yearly event occurring between February and March which is strictly related to Easter time and as such to Catholic liturgy. Since Christian era its end marks indeed the beginning of Lent, the fourty days of abstinence and restrictions to be respected before Easter Sunday. Carnival therefore embodied for centuries abundance, rules break and subversion, social libertinism to the estreme… anything normally not tollerated by both secular and religious institutions. In other words, it was a social relief valve, with origins likely in Greek and Roman cults. All this nowadays remains in the masquerades (such asin Venice), in the satirical chart parades (such as in Viareggio), in the battles with oranges (see Ivrea and Acireale) which just leave the observer in search of the meaning of such fierce representations.
In order to help you plan your trip in Italy accordingly, here below you find a shortlist of 2015 dates, Carnival being not a fixed holiday:
– yesterday, Sunday 1 February: beginning of Carnival
12 February: Fat Thursday (major celebrations)
17 February: Shrove Tuesday (major celebrations and end of Carnival)
18 February: Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)
5 April: Easter
As part of the celebrations, don’t forget to taste the ever-present Carnival sweets: the castagnole (‘Carnival dough balls’, ‘Carnival fritter’) and the crostoli (‘angel wings’, taking different names depending on the region, such as chiacchiere, frappe etc.).
Hostel Des Artistes staff will suggest you the best Carnival parties in Rome, as well as info on the several other events in Italy!

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