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One of the most typical Italian festivity has just begun: Carnival. For about two weeks this ancient tradition, which has likely its roots in pagan and pre-Christian cults, will live again all over Italy with more or less emphasis according to the region. Some cities gained popularity far beyond national borders due to the particular celebrations taking place at Carnival, attracting visitors with their highly refined masks, hilarious chart parades or fierce “battles of oranges”: Venice, Viareggio (in Tuscany), Ivrea (nearby Turin), Acireale (in Sicily) are among the best known.
Carnival is strictly associated to Catholic lithurgy: it is indeed a period of street parties and abundant celebrations even in terms of food, that prelude to the restrictions to be observed during the fourty days before Easter. It happens that the very last day of Carnival (the so called “martedì grasso” i.e. Shrove Tuesday), the peak of fun, is meant to leave room to the abstinence time of Lent (beginning the day after, on the so called “mercoledì delle Ceneri”, i.e. Ash Wednesday). Carnival and Easter days are not fixed holidays, they do change every year, so to better plan your stay in Italy in 2015 mind these dates:
– today, Sunday 1 February: beginning of Carnival
– 12 February: Fat Thursday (major celebrations)
– 17 February: Shrove Tuesday (major celebrations and end of Carnival)
– 18 February: Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)
– 5 April: Easter
Don’t forget to taste the typical Carnival sweets, such as the castagnole (‘Carnival dough balls’, ‘Carnival fritter’) and the crostoli (‘angel wings’, which in fact are called differently depending on the region… you might find frappe, chiacchiere etc as well).
Hotel Des Artistes will be happy to provide you with info on the best Carnival parties & events in Rome!