The 150th anniversary of the Viareggio Carnival
From 4 to 25 February 2023, the floats of one of Italy's most famous carnivals will parade again
This year Viareggio celebrates the 150th anniversary of its Carnival. From 4 to 25 February 2023, parades of gigantic allegorical floats, shows, district parties, historical re-enactments, art events, cultural, musical and theatrical events are the protagonists of the important anniversary celebrations for the event.
Collaborating with the Carnival for this very special edition are La nave di Teseo, Linus and Betty Wrong Edizioni. The EXTRALISCIO have composed for the occasion LA MASCHERA RIDE, the official song of the Viareggio 2023 Carnival, and rearranged the iconic song FESTA DI GIOVENTÙ, as a tribute to tradition. The Extraliscio will perform at the Viareggio Carnival on 21 February in Piazza Mazzini, at the opening of the Mardi Gras parade.
As part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Viareggio Carnival, a special issue of Linus dedicated to the event is published in February. The volume contains texts by important writers and personalities from the world of culture such as Vittorio Sgarbi, Franco Cordelli, Bruno Vespa and many others.
Carnival represents the highest expression of the artistic, historical and cultural heritage of the City of Viareggio. It is a magical, identity-filled celebration that every year reinforces the sense of belonging to the city community, but it is also a collective ritual that is an expression of human civilisation, which brings Viareggio closer to peoples from all over the world and thanks to which cultural relations and friendships are developed and born in a national, European and non-European context.
If the word Carnival evokes in the collective imagination the idea of festivity, colours and music, the Viareggio Carnival immediately conjures up the image of large allegorical machines. Works of art and extraordinary theatrical machines with ever more complex movements and grandiose scenic effects that each year prove to be an example of the perfect combination of artistic skill and the ability to experiment with new languages and technologies, making the Viareggio Carnival and its artists a model of interaction between culture, tradition and innovation, as well as an example of art capable of stimulating reflection on highly topical issues.
On the occasion of the six Corsi Mascherati on the Viareggio seaside boulevards, one can admire 9 first-category floats, 4 second-category floats, 9 group masquerades and 10 isolated masks.
Saturday 4 February Opening ceremony
and flag-raising ceremony, 3 p.m.
1st MASKED COURSE, 4 p.m. Fireworks display
Sunday 12 February
2nd MASKED COURSE, 3 p.m.
Maundy Thursday 16 February 3rd MASKED COURSE, 6 p.m.
Sunday 19 February
4th MASKED COURSE, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, 21 February 5th MASKED COURSE, 5 p.m.
Saturday 25 February 6th MASKED COURSE, 5 p.m. At the end reading
of the Jury's verdicts Pyrotechnic Show
CHE LA FESTA COMINCI (28 January to 7 May)
Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Viareggio
This major exhibition of works of art tells the story of the allegorical float in the Italian tradition on the one hand, and on the other the evolution of Italian masks that originated with the Commedia dell'Arte and were enriched with characters until 1931, when the Burlamacco mask, conceived by Uberto Bonetti, made its appearance at the Viareggio Carnival. The exhibition illustrates these two characteristic aspects of Viareggio's history and tradition through the display of more than 90 works including paintings, drawings, and engravings created between the 17th and 20th centuries.
CARNEVALARTE (January - March)
Villa Paolina, Viareggio
The combination of Carnival and art is narrated in the exhibition featuring the art collection of the Viareggio Carnival Foundation for the first time. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Viareggio Carnival gave life to art exhibitions dedicated to the festival, tradition and masks.
BALLO IN MASCHERA Costumes by the Anna and Giorgio White Atelier (February and March)
Villa Argentina, Viareggio
For the first time, Villa Argentina in Viareggio will display the theatrical costumes of the Anna and Giorgio White Atelier. The scene of Veglione in Maschera will be recreated, in which visitors will be able to admire details of costumes that Atelier White has created over the years for important theatre and film productions, receptions and carnival events.
MANI IN PASTA (February and March)
Maritime Museum, Viareggio
The exhibition in the Museo della Marineria is intended to bear witness to this link between art and craftsmanship, creativity and know-how. But above all, it is an opportunity to remember that the Viareggio Carnival comes from the sea. Through blow-ups of yesterday and today, the exhibition narrates the origins of a unique craft in the world.
The Citadel is the place for creativity and the preservation of the historical and artistic heritage of the Viareggio Carnival. Opened to the public on 26 September 2001, the Citadel of Carnival is the largest park dedicated to the Masks in Europe. Designed by architect Francesco Tomassi, it develops with hangars, workshops and museum spaces around the large square, dedicated to Burlamacco, Viareggio's symbolic mask. This is where the master builders work to create the gigantic allegorical works. An initial exhibition route focuses on the history of contemporary graphic art. The hangar doors where the masters work are like maxi 'screens' for an impactful, oversized narration: from futurism to modern-day languages through a selection of historical Carnival posters. The new museums and the historical archive are an opportunity for visitors to discover the art of papier-mâché and the history of the event, which is approaching its 150th anniversary. At the Citadel it is also possible to try one's hand at working with Burlamacco's raw material through educational workshops for children.
The historical account of 150 years of the Viareggio Carnival through a selection of images to document its artistic evolution over the decades. The models, on the other hand, recall the places in the city where the Carnival has grown, cradled by the dedication of its artists and the passion of its citizens. A timeline starting in 1873 and ending in 2001, the year of the inauguration of the Carnival Citadel, today a symbol of creativity, culture and history.
The Carnival Museum, therefore, is enriched with an exhibition space that implements the areas already open to the public in the Citadel: the experiential part in the Espace Gilbert, the Historical Archive, the papier-mâché workshops and the ground floor of the Museum itself, which introduces the upside-down world typical of Italian and European carnival traditions.