Carnival in Italy, also known as “Carnevale”, is a large winter festival that includes music, parties, and parades. Carnevale, which began as a last celebration before Lent begins in Italy, is still very popular. Thousands of Italians and tourists from around the world come to Italy in full costume for this festival.
Each year, the Carnevale is launched on a different date. Usually in February/March. The party begins much earlier! ).
Venice is the home of the most celebrated Carnevale celebration (check out our post for more information about celebrating Carnival at Venice). However, Venice is not the only place to go. Carnevale is celebrated in all of Italy with every city adding its own unique touch to the traditional party.
Are you planning to visit Italy during Carnevale Check out our list to see the most extravagant and largest celebrations in Italy?
Carnevale (and other elaborate parades) in Viareggio. Tuscany.
Viareggio is a Tuscan coastal town that hosts one of the biggest Carnevale celebrations. You can easily find a date to go to because it lasts over multiple weekends. Viareggio is the place to be for long, vibrant parades. It’s known for its large paper mache figures of politicians, animals, and other figures, as well as the elaborate floats that become more elaborate every year.
The parades are free to view, but there are many other cultural events, festivals and concerts that can be viewed almost non-stop on the weekends leading up Lent.
Carnevale (and the Battle of the Oranges), in Ivrea Piedmont
Piemont’s Ivrea hosts one of the most unique Carnevale celebrations. The colorful parade culminates in an orange-throwing contest in the middle of the town, which fills the entire city with the scents and colors of oranges. You can wear a red hat to indicate that you won’t be throwing oranges, although it might not completely protect you from the flying fruits.
Dates: It’s a good idea to plan ahead, as Ivrea’s carnival offers a wide range of dates! There are events throughout the month. To learn more about this historical tradition, visit the website
Bonus: If you don’t feel like throwing oranges at strangers, you can either follow the Via Francigena and tour the Valle D’Aosta, or travel 40 minutes to Turin in the opposite direction. You can read more about them in our post on Italy’s best winter wonderlands. ).
Carnevale (with spectacular flower floats), in Acireale. Sicily
Acireale’s Carnevale, one of Sicily’s most spectacular carnivals, is a favorite. Parades are held in the Baroque historical center of the town, featuring allegorical paper-mache floats as well as famous flower floats. The flower floats are made entirely with flowers and feature characters and images. They add beauty and scent to the festivities.
To conclude the carnival season, there will be music, chess tournaments, and fireworks.
For dates and information on parades with flower floats, allegorical or both, visit .
Bonus: Acireale can be found on the beautiful island Sicily between Mount Etna and the coast. This is also the most likely Carnival celebration in Italy at this time of year.
Carnevale, Puglia, Putignano: The longest-running Carnival celebrations in Italy
Puglia hosts more Carnival celebrations in Italy than any other region, but the Carnevale of Putignano is the most celebrated and longest-running celebration in Italy. The season begins early in December and ends on Fat Tuesday the day before Lent begins. Festa delle Propaggini is celebrated on the 26th. Here, poets in their local dialects recite satiric rhymes that mock politicians, powers, social news, and habits for hours. Parades start in February.
Bonus: Putignano, in beautiful Bari province, is close to the sea. You can visit the Castellana Caves or go on a short drive to Lecce, a scenic and traditional town. (Check out our post on Puglia with pictures. Why not head to Italy’s heel? ).
Carnevale is all about having fun in Italy! It’s the last chance to have fun before the more serious and frivolous Lenten period. It’s a great time to enjoy vin brulee, sweets and costumes, as well as parties!
You can join the Carnival festivities, but you should be cautious.