The carnival of Viareggio Italian carnevale di Viareggio is a carnival event yearly held in the Tuscanian city of Viareggio, in Italy. It is considered amongst the most renowned carnival celebrations in both Italy and Europe.
Its main characteristic is given by the parade of floats and masks, usually made of paper-pulp, depicting caricatures of popular people, such as politicians, showmen and sportsmen; the parade is held on the Viareggio avenue located alongside the local beach.
The first Viareggio carnival parade was held in 1873, when some wealthy middle-class men decided to organize a parade of floats adorned with flowers; a number of local citizens, as a sign of protest, then decided to put on masks in order to show their refusal of high taxes they were forced to pay. The first float to win the parade, in 1883, was named I Quattro Mori (The Four Moors), an accurately representation of the homonymous Livorno statue.
The carnival continued to gain popularity within the years, and in 1949 a football youth tournament, called Torneo di Viareggio, was first organized as a collateral manifestation.
Viareggio beach twon of Riviera of the Versilia is the home of the Italian Carnival, with its masked parades characterized by allegorical floats in papermache. These floats are true works of art to which the local float makers dedicate an entire year of workmanship.
There is not one politician, entertainer, or intellectual that has not been a target (protagonist) of one of these floats which almost comes to life during the parade by the moving arms, opening and closing mouths and rolling eyes.
On every float young people and children find a place from which to throw confetti and shooting stars to the crowd. During the entire period masked balls and parties in the various "rioni" (quarters, districts) are organized as well as numerous sports and cultural events i.e. "Torneo Internazionale giovanile di calcio".
The official Viareggio Carnival mask is the "Burlamacco", a clown which wears clothes taken from other Italian masks: checkered overalls, taken from the Harlequin's costume, a white ponpon stolen from Pierrot's big puffy blouse, a white gorget - "Captain Scary" style, a red headband and a black mantle.
The name Burlamacco derives from Buffalmacco a Florentine painter and a character in the "Decamerone". However, it is also said to be linked to the Lucchese surname Burlamacchi.
SELECTED WEBSITES ABOUT VIAREGGIO BEACH TOWN OF CARNIVAL PROVINCE OF LUCCA TUSCANY REGION OF ITALY
Organization of carnival:
Fondazione Carnevale Viareggio
Piazza Mazzini 22 Viareggio 55049 - Lucca
Carnevale di Viareggio official website of Viareggio CarnivalCarnevale di Viareggio