Carnivale in Viareggio…it’s time to party!

The trouble with having only news channels to watch in English is that you tend to become mired in the doom and gloom that is broadcast daily. Civil unrest, the economic crisis, wars, William and Kate (the latter not gloomy but annoying!)……sometimes you just have to turn it off in search of a good time.  Right now in Italy, there’s no better time to be had than at Carnivale in Viareggio.

A tradition for 138 years, the Carnivale is like no other I’ve ever attended. Pretty much everyone dresses in costume, there is music, MUCH confetti, food, dancing and a parade of enormous floats that make the Adelaide Christmas Pageant look like a quaint country fair.  (Btw, I am by no means knocking our Christmas Pageant with all of it’s charm and unique atmosphere! I’m just making the point that Carnivale is HUGE).  Really, these floats are amazing with their sheer size, bright colours and moving parts.  They parade along the seashore in a circular route and the crowd is encouraged to be a part of the procession. There are no barriers and only a small grandstand for the elderly (party poopers!).  Actually, the kids were a bit overwhelmed at first with all the people and the noise, but after a few minutes they acclimatized and became engrossed in the bizarre sights.

If you DO plan on attending Carnivale some day, be aware that there are NO parks in the entire town. We had to drive almost all of the way out of Viareggio and walk back in.   Enjoy the pics:

A beautiful garden! The mantis bugs were moving their legs and heads around

The parade of floats. You can see some of the crowd dressed in costume.

Shark!!! The shark and the fish all moved around on the float.

It's Obama! The floats were very political, and this one even had a terrorist on the top complete with gun and crazy antics. Obama's eyes and hands moved and smoke came out of his wand.

The back of the Obama float with a flying peace dove

Look at that one Daddy!!

My absolute favourite float! This was a big skeleton monster with Berlusconi's face. The face opened up to reveal a skull. The neck moved around so it looked like the skull was coming at you. Scary! There were ghosts "floating" around the base too.

The Kama Sutra! "Mummy, what are those people doing?" "Err...just having a cuddle"

Another awesome float! This was depicting the monopolization of the media. The monster had blinking eyes and blue lazer lights coming out of them.

This float actually broke down and only got back into the parade at the very end. It was huge!

This week we have continued our usual touring of Lunigiana. Amongst our “discoveries” are the castle at Bastia, Torre di Apella, Caprigliola and more of the lovely area around our village of Groppo.  Chris and I have been taking many long hikes around here and discovered a bare hilltop a few k’s down the road. It’s only used for grazing right now, but would make an ideal house site with 360 degree views of the mountains and valleys. On a clear day, the Apuans look so three dimensional!  The view of Groppo from a different angle with the alps behind it is also quite spectacular.  I’ll let the pics do the talking again:

A little village just past Aulla called Caprigliola. It's very visible from far away due to it's precarious positioning right on top of a hill. It has very sheer walls around it and of course spectacular views.

The entrance to Caprigliola. Very defensible!

A very obvious feature of Caprigliola, even from a distance, is the round tower.

I do love a good tower!

The fortress of Bastia. This sits on a mountain above the town of Licciana Nardi. Actually, we did not know what it was and had to point it out to one of the locals in LN. The castle/fortress has now been converted into apartments, but still remains a pretty impressive SOLID structure which dominates the valley.

I thought this might be a good shot, and Chris was only too happy to oblige me by climbing up the rocks! It would make a cool cubby house for a kid.

We discovered this tower on the way home to Groppo from Licciana Nardi. It's the Torre di Apella which is now an Agriturismo. It is situated with nothing around it except for a winding road leading up to it.

The Torre di Apella. Such a lonely looking tower.

Another view of Groppo taken from the little hill we discovered. It looks big here!

The Apuan mountains as seen from the little hill

The awesome Apennine ranges with Pastina in front.

Wooohooo! Spring is almost here! Wildflowers, snow, blue sky...and getting some serious air!!

Finally, I am most pleased to announce that I’m now a card-carrying member of the “Donne di Luna”, the local women’s organization.  I was invited to attend the Annual General Meeting last Friday night, followed by a delicious buffet dinner.  In the meeting, the “head lady” outlined what had been achieved that year and what plans were in place for the coming year.  It seems quite a lot of charity work was done as well as social and cultural events.  My friends Giusi, Catherine, Sandra, Alison and Nikki are all members and I met some other Italian ladies on the night.  I learned some new words and got to practice the language, as well as enjoying some new foods like “lardo” (thin slivers of cured pork fat!) and swordfish.  It was a fun night amongst such lovely ladies.  It was also the first night I’ve had out by myself since we arrived in Italy 🙂



About missrini

Global citizen. Travel blogger. Eccentric dreamer.
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3 Responses to Carnivale in Viareggio…it’s time to party!

  1. Jen says:

    Its always good to have some ‘me’ time. Lovely pics as usual. xx

  2. Sarah says:

    Fabulous photos, you do truly sound like you are getting to see so much and experience the culture, what a fabulous thing to do with the family. Keep having fun as there are many of us living vicariously through you at the moment!

  3. bagnidilucca says:

    I have a house in Bagni di Lucca. I too, went to Carnevale in Viareggio. I did several posts on the floats, I thought they were amazing. This is a great area isn’t it?

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