150 years of Carnival at Viareggio
By Alison Goldberger
This year marked the 150th anniversary of the Carnival at Viareggio and Erica was there taking it all in…and of course taking some photographs too.
The Carnival has been taking place since 1873 and involves many highly decorated papier-mâché floats and masquerades traveling in a procession down the ‘passeggiata’, or promenade along the seafront in Viareggio.
It sounds like fun and games, but it’s a serious business. The floats take part in four ‘classes’ and creators can move up and down classes depending on how many points they are awarded for their creations. Moving up or down a class can make or break the designers. The four classes dictate the size and budget of the float and the order in which they travel.
As you can see from the photos, the floats are huge and take months and months to build.
There are of course many light-hearted and fun floats, and this year some celebrated the 150th anniversary.
However, they are often allegorical, and this year touched on the war in Ukraine. A huge gorilla adorned with military medals entitled 'The Evolution of the Species' represented war and misery.
There was a stark juxtaposition between the jolly celebrations of the anniversary and heavy anguish about the future of the human race. The photo above shows ‘Armed Peace’ by Alessandro Avanzini – a young girl wearing a helmet and gas mask. Her coat opens out into a flag of peace, symbolising the hope for peace.
The final day of the Carnival (February 25) will also take on a political note with an 'Orangemob' - orange fireworks in protest against gender based violence. The announcement of the winning float follows!
It is always a spectacular event. If you would like to read more about Carnival take a look at this previous blog post.
Carnival traditionally ends on 'Fat Tuesday' or Martedì Grasso, if you'd like to read more about that, check out this previous blog post.
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Nice blog. Now I understand how the competition works and why there are so many... unique floats!
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