Viareggio Carnival 2018

Cannavacciuolo and Beppe Grillo among the main characters of the most original Italian Carnival

From 27 January 2018 to 17 February 2018

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Have you already started working on your masks? If the answer is negative, we suggest you start working as soon as possible because... the Viareggio Carnival 2018 is almost upon us! From 27th January to 17th February, in fact, the Tuscan city will turn into one big factory of fun and joyful atmosphere with the parades of the famous floats led by the legendary Burlamacco (the official mask), fireworks, night parties and many side events ranging from theatre to food and wine, workshops to sports.

Started towards the end of the 1800s, the Carnival of Viareggio is the best known carnival in Italy, together with the Venice one. Every year thousands of visitors from throughout the country come to the city, attracted by the festive atmosphere that reigns in this period but, above all, by the spectacular parades of floats with soaring giant papier-mâché characters from the world of satire and politics.

As per tradition, the triple cannon shot fired from the sea will mark the opening of the Carnival of Viareggio 2018. After this, as if by magic, the floats will come alive with music and dancing, accompanied by the enthusiasm of the spectators who don’t want to miss this exciting event.
Viareggio will see five parades of masks taking place - four on Sunday and one on Shrove Tuesday – along a circular closed circuit, between the avenues facing the sea and the city promenade with the participation of first and second category floats, individual masks and masked groups. The winners belonging to each category will be announced and awarded on the last day.

So, are you ready to explore with us the Carnival of Viareggio 2018? If you love dressing-up and masks, you can join the parades showing off your best fancy dress and feel part of the show. If you are hesitant or do not have ideas ... do not worry, inside (but also outside!) the area of the event, you will find wigs, costumes and all the necessaire for your disguise!

In the Viareggio Carnival program, the mask parades are not the only attractions: the place where the carts are made and kept, called 'LA CITTADELLA', is another very important location of the event. This is the largest and most important area in Italy dedicated to masks with a wide elliptical square – which in summer becomes an arena hosting important shows - overlooking the makers’ workshops, comprising 16 hangars where the gigantic and colourful floats are made and kept, a historical documentary Centre and two museums. The outer perimeter zone, instead, is known as 'the street of artists' and it is here that visitors can meet the artisans at work in their workshops.
In the past, the floats were made anywhere suitable, braving the cold winters: below market lodges, in squares between one house and the next or in the Politeama theatre. During the interwar period, several hangars were built in town but they were destroyed in the terrible fire of the summer 1960. New hangars were soon built which housed the floats for about 40 years. Finally, in 2001, with an epic journey, the buildings were moved to their the current location.

La Cittadella of Viareggio 2018 is home to museums, Viareggio Carnival workshops and other Viareggio Carnival events, connected in some way to the Carnival, which are worth a visit:

  • The large statue of Burlamacco, created by designer Uberto Bonetti, will welcome you at the entrance of the MUSEUM of CARNIVAL VIAREGGIO, which houses elements of the local historical, cultural and artistic heritage spanning over a century. Inside the museum, you will learn about the various stages of construction of a papier-mâché artwork, while on the ground floor of the building, there are interesting workshops where children and young students will be able to test their artistic skills and try their hand at making a paper-maché item, working and shaping the two basic materials: clay and paper.
    The exhibition begins with a display of scale models of the floats winners of the last editions of the Masked parades of Viareggio, and continues with the original works of several famous artists who, over the years, have worked for the festival, amongst them aforementioned Uberto Bonetti, to whom a large area is reserved highlighting his intense and prolonged dedication to the Carnival. Postcards reproducing the official posters of the Viareggio Carnival from 1925 to the present day are also displayed.
    The Museum of the Carnival continues with a section dedicated to paper-maché, which is made out of moulded paper and has been the main feature of the Carnival of Viareggio since its first edition. Inside the museum, there is also a bookshop where you can buy art editions, interesting publications on the origins and history of the Carnival of Viareggio and nice souvenirs. 
  • Next to the museum dedicated to the papier-mâché, you can also find the Museum of Contemporary Art of Carnevalotto. Every year, artists of international renown are given the task of creating a work of art to be given as a prize to the float winner of each edition of the Carnival of Viareggio. With the passage of time, these extraordinary works of painting, sculpture and graphics have become a very important collection of contemporary art that is well worth a visit.
  • And now, prepare your taste buds: the Burlamacco Restaurant of Viareggio is waiting for you to let you discover the typical dishes of Versilia! Come in and you will be catapulted into the cheerful and colourful world of the Carnival: the black walls recall the mantle of the mask that gives its name to the restaurant while the white and red chequered ceilings are a reminder of the masks’ cheerful dress. The counter, as well as other areas of the Inn, are decorated with papier-mâché - the quintessential material of the floats built by the float masters. And how could it be any different?

The Viareggio Carnival dates for 2018 are from 27th January to 17th February. Do not miss them! Fun, entertainment, art, culture and tradition in the most spectacular Italian festival, which has been enthusing young and old for 143 years.

Book one of our hotels in Viareggio and get ready to live an unforgettable experience!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff


Period: From 27 January 2018 to 17 February 2018

Event location: Viareggio

Contacts: Viareggio Carnival programme and the dates of Viareggio Carnival in 2018 are available on the official website

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