2018 Carnevale di Viareggio, The Family Carnival in Italy

February 6, 2018

Usually, when people think of Carnevale, the Italian celebration of freedom and life prior to the time of Lent, they think of the most famous locale for celebrating it, Venice.

Photo of Carnevale by Filippo Monteforte.

There is wonder, mystery and majesty involved in the Venice celebration. Designer costumes, 5-star parties abound. I chose to go along a different path for my Carnival experience this year. My friend and I took a one-hour train ride to Viareggio, a Tuscan town by the sea, on 4 February, 2018.

I really had no idea what to expect. This was my first visit to Viareggio and to this Carnival. We headed toward the sea to join the fray at the festival.

It was surprisingly relaxed and family friendly. And nearly everyone watching dressed for the day.

These beautiful siblings were filled with wonder as they watched the parade floats and people pass by.

It was so informal. People, bystanders, walked in front of the floats and marchers. It was so Italian, so relaxed. Everyone appeared to be living in the moment, in their own way. I was more fascinated by the people

Than I was by the intricately constructed, gigantic Floats.

We saw entire families dressed in similar costumes.

Including this Star Wars themed family. Even the stroller was black.

I loved the look of the Pirates of the Caribbean couple.

And there looked like 2 couples double dating for the festa with compatible outfits.

The music from each float was blaring. You could not help but dance along with everyone. Yet, I heard a different kind of music too. I heard people enjoying each other as they enjoyed the parade. I witnessed family traditions of sharing enjoyment as a group.

I saw friends and families living in the moment, expressing their unique personalities of family group lifestyles as they joyously danced to their own music.

It was wonderful.

Of course, the floats were, as usual, timely, unique and, as stated before, gigantic!

Every year, the Viareggio parade and others feature political views. This year, there was an ongoing theme of War, fear of war, and past wars.

I especially found the float about past wars thought-provoking.

Stalin, Hitler, Chairman Mao were all there, as were the Allied Leaders. And the poppy fields. Contraposed were the bystanders who walked in front of it, laughing, thinking, sharing the moments.

My friend and I walked along the parade route. I saw a site serving Bomboloni, an Italian sweet treat. I had to try one.

At another point, we walked in the sand by the Sea. With Nikkon in hand, I captured photos

Of the floats above the rooftops of multi-floored buildings with the snow-capped mountains behind them.

Then the Chef. Is that Mario Battali? I do not know.

I wish I could show you everything. But, I can’t get no satisfaction.

And the details of each float

Like the burned-out cigarettes on the Anti-Smoking float.

Or the gargantuan masks,

And the anti-mafia murder float

featuring a mafioso as a jaded Pinocchio.

And what was this one about?

Many floats were dark, made to stimulate thought, feelings. Others were playful, such as the following photo from the wild, Cabaret float.

And through it all, it was a complete, Italian experience. It was loud, raucous, thoughtful and fun. And full of family spirit. This child participant on a float says it all in her dress, her makeup, her stance and her smile.

Even with the intensity of the Carnevale di Viareggio, the sun sets and people walk along the beach, moving on to a different, in the moment experience.

Choosing this Carnival experience was the perfect choice for me. I appreciated the less formal, more down to earth, everyone can participate, Carnevale. I hope you can someday experience this parade. Let me know how I can help you get there. Thanks for sharing this experience with us. A dopo!  Until later!

Ciao for now!

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