The Carnival of Viareggio: Italy’s Annual Floating Theater

Feb 10, 2018 525

BY: Robert V. Allegrini

It’s cold and dark, but – fortunately – hairless inside the left nostril of Hillary Clinton as I pop my head in it while examining a giant paper-mâché replica of her head, which is seemingly discarded outside one of the enormous hangers at the Cittadella del Carnevale.  The “Citadel of the Carnival” serves as a workshop where magnificent floats are assembled for Italy’s best-loved carnival, the Carnival of Viareggio – a lovely seaside town in Tuscany that is less than an hour from Lucca.

The Italians have always known how to throw a good party. After all, the very term bacchanalian comes from the debauchery of Roman “bacchanalia.” So when it comes to Carnival, it is no surprise that Italy need not take a backseat to Rio De Janiero nor New Orleans. In fact, the Italians boast numerous noteworthy Carnival celebrations, from the elegant masked parties in Venice, to the raucous Carnival of the Oranges in Ivrea. But it’s the Carnival in Viareggio which truly captures the Italian spirit.

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