VENICE CARNIVAL In February, Italians get ready for the Carnival. The most famous one is in Venice, which usually takes place between February 9 and 16. Beside Venice, many colorful and happy celebrations are held throughout the country.
VENICE CARNIVAL Wherever you are in Italy, you see in February children and adults in costume, and you may be the spectator or object of practical jokes: "A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale," Italians say. "At Carnival tim, every prank is fair."
If you want to participate in the festivities, here is a partial list:
VIAREGGIO Viareggio (Tuscany). This year's Carnival is dedicated to the regions of Italy and Europe. It opens in the afternoon of January 30 and continues on four successive Sundays (Jan. 31, and Feb. 7 and 21). Mardi Gras is on Feb. 16. On each of these days you can expect spectacular floats (which are the largest in the world), musical festivals, balls, fireworks, and much more.
Fano (on the Adriatic Sea not far from San Marino), is famous for a unique tradition: the masked characters on the floats throw candy at people lining the streets who, in turn, reciprocate. This year, the carnival takes place on Feb. 8, 15, 22, and March 1. FANO
Ivrea (near Turin). Participants in the Carnival jump off the floats and pursue hapless bystanders with a sustained fire of ripe oranges. The official beginning of the Carnival is on Jan. 6, but the actual celebrations are on Jan. 31, Feb. 7, 11, and 13. The "Battle of the Oranges" is on Feb. 14, 15, and 16. IVREA
PUTIGNANO Putignano (near Bari in Apulia) hosts a series of parades with beautiful allegorical floats. The parades take place on Jan. 31, Feb. 7, 14, and 16.
The most beautiful Carnival in Sicily : Acireale Its origins date back to the XVI century and for 70 years to now, the Carnival of Acireale has been considered the most beautiful of Sicily.
The "cassariata" In the XIX century very important for Carnival's artistic improvement was the "cassariata", a parade of carriages reserved to the nobles who threw coloured confetti at people in the streets.
Carnival sweets Chiacchiere, frittelle and struffoli. Each region of Italy has its own Carnival sweets, of which there are many, but they all have one thing in common; they are all fried. Here are some of the dessert wines most suited to accompany these deliciously crunchy seasonal treats.
Chiacchere Chiacchere are one of the classic Carnival pastries that people enjoy before the privations of Lent. As is often the case when dishes are popular there are many versions of Chiacchere.
The ever-popular cannoli, fried pastry rolls with a delicious filling made from sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruits, were once a treat only at Carnival time, but now are enjoyed year-round. Cannoli