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150 years of the Viareggio Carnival
4 to 25 February 2023 sees the return of Italy’s most celebrated papier-mâché floats

It’s one of the most famous carnivals in Italy and in Europe: the Viareggio Carnival marks its 150th anniversary this year. Its enormous papier-mâché floats, animated by ever more complicated mechanisms, are genuine works of art, the creations of master craftspeople who work non-stop for 6 months to see the results of their efforts paraded along the seafront along with hundreds of costumed revellers, in the hope of making it onto the roll of honour of winners of the various editions.

Burlesque, colourful and satirical, the endless list of subjects covered by the more than 1,300 floats over the years in Viareggio includes animals, imaginary characters, buildings, politicians and celebrities. To find out about those taking part in this year’s special edition, here are the dates:

  • Saturday 4 February, opening ceremony at 15:00, parade at 16:00 and firework display
  • Sunday 12 (15:00)
  • 16Fat Thursday with night parade at 18:00
  • Sunday 19 (15:00)
  • 21Mardi Gras, parade at 17:00
  • Saturday 25, the “grand finale”, the final parade at 17:00, followed by the announcement of the winner and closing firework display.

In total: 9 category 1 floats, 4 category 2 floats, 9 group masquerades and 10 individual masquerades.

In addition to the parades themselves, there are also stage shows, masked balls and historical reenactments, neighbourhood parties, exhibitions and cultural events.

This 150-year-old story is told at the Museo del Carnevale in the Viareggio Citadel, the place where the papier-mâché floats are created: stage sets, floats, photos and videos, interactive areas and workshops. It’s an immersion in a world of colour and magic.

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