The Viareggio Carnival, one of Italy's most elaborate pre-Lent festivities, took off on the 4th February 2023 and culminates on Shrive Tuesday, the 25th Feb. The year's event is extra special, as the town is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its celebrated parade, which attracts tourists from all over the world.. The Viareggio (Tuscany) Carnival is arguably the most spectacular in Italy, with a procession of huge floats that parade along the seafront, many containing satirical and political messages. Nine gigantic allegorical floats compete for first prize, along with a long procession of lesser floats in other categories, surrounded by huge crowds of masked revellers and dancers. The 1st category floats are enormous constructions that loom over 125 m high over the heads of the crowds of spectators, with some 250 dancers on board. The procession is repeated on five different days of the Carnival season.

Viareggio's Carnival dates back to 1873 and has grown from strength to strength ever since, with floats designed by artists and constructed by workers in the nearby naval shipyards. In 1925, the technique of papier mache was perfected by artist Antonio D'Arliano, superseding wood and other materials. This allowed the figures to be lighter in weight and more easily modelled. The construction of the floats has become an important industry for the city with the creation of the Citadella di Carnivale workshops where artists build the gigantic figures. This year offers a special exhibition on the History of the event , staged in the Viareggio Gallery of Modern Art. The Citadella of Carnival is also open to visitors, with the Carnival Museum and the 16 hangers where the floats are built. The artists involved also turn their hands to theatre set design.

Over 25 craft workshops are involved in the creation of the scenography of the floats, which change their theme every year. This year's message is: “Dreams, Hopes, Desire for a better world.” that needs no comment.......


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