Carnival of Viareggio 2018
The Carnival Town, its spaces and the seaside parade. An event and a town
History has no doubts about the provenance of the most magical and complicated Carnival parades in Italy. A group of middle-class youngsters, who whiled away their nights at the tables of the illustrious Caffè del Casinò, burst on to the main street via Regia with a parade of decorated carts on Shrove Tuesday of 1873. Little did they know that they had changed Viareggio and its tourism forever.
Marialina Marcucci, a businesswoman and first female president of Fondazione Carnevale di Viareggio, explained what happened, adding how “the Carnival developed in that initial area, just as the reputation of the parade grew with the floats. In the early 20th century, the circuit ran from Via Regia to the seafront promenade. In 1921 the first official song was heard, which is still the anthem today: Coppa di Champagne.
But the revolution came in 1925: Antonio D’Arliano used the papier-mache technique, the lightest (and humblest) of materials that allowed colossal and ever more daring creations to be made. In 1930, Uberto Bonetti, the Futurist painter and graphic designer, created Burlamacco: Viareggio’s symbolic figure, who, on the 1931 poster appeared with Ondine, the symbol of the summer season with the piers in the background.”
This year, the five Corsi Mascherati (parades) along the seafront promenades will be held from January 27 to February 17, bringing the resort to life with night celebrations, firework displays, parties, plays, food and world sports events. New for 2018 are special theme nights in the town’s historic spots, with culturally refined projects, such as the renewal of the coastal home of Paolina Bonaparte, to restore the feeling of Tuscany in the Napoleonic era.
Today’s floats take shape in an exclusive place, a hotbed of imagination and creativity: the Cittadella. Sixteen well-equipped hangars, in which over 25 artisan firms and more than 250 professionals work, spaces that have become set design workshops for plays, cinema and television, as well as local productions, for 12 months of work every year. In the summer, the piazza dedicated to Burlamacco, home to massive and magical hangars, becomes an outdoor arena, in which artists, such as Cirque du Soleil, can perform.
The Cittadella and Fondazione del Carnevale is also working on a project that will involve the United States, but it’s top secret from now, something that this event excels at like no other.
To find out the themes of the floats, Marialina Marcucci tells us that “the magicians of papier mache will reveal their surprising creations only at the end of their labours, i.e. during the parades. Carnival 2018 will focus on top international themes of course, such as clashes between world powers, between China, the U.S., Russia and North Korea, all lightened by the typical irony and sarcasm of our Carnival’s artists.
But there will be also extraordinary messages of hope through allegorical works that refer to international literary classics such as Beckett’s Godot and a dreamy Don Quixote. Without forgetting Chef Cannavacciuolo, summoned to fix up Ristorante Italia…”
To experience Viareggio Carnival fully, getting up on the floats and dancing during the parade, please contact firenzeyesplease.com, who will be able to make your dream come true. If you would like to check out one of last year’s masterpieces, head for the gardens of Palazzo della Gherardesca at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze to see the impressive Polar Bear by Carlo Lombardi.