When you think of Carnevale and Italy, chances are the elegant masks and costumes of Venice are what usually come to mind. And while Carnevale celebrations take place all over Italy leading up to Lent, there is one event that cannot be missed – the famous Viareggio Carnevale with its parade of massive paper-mâché floats.
I made the short trip by train from Florence to the coastal city of Viareggio on a bright and warm Saturday in February. After exploring the town and wandering along the beach, I made my way into the Carnevale parade area alongside the ocean. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the bright colors, music, and intricate floats of the parade precession, which is celebrating it’s 144th year. The majority of the towering floats, each made by artists and craftsmen from all over the world, had themes of political satire or social criticism. However, despite these difficult topics, the parade was still a lively and joyful celebration filled with both children and adults in costumes, music, and traditional Carnevale desserts.