Venice carnival photo by Paolo Vercesi

Venice carnival photo by Paolo Vercesi

Il Carnevale (Carnival) is a festivity that we celebrate in Italy. To celebrate Carnevale we have parades and big parties. The main characteristic of Carnevale is wearing consumes and disguises. Children throw confetti at each other, and we all have fun. Pranks and jokes are also common during Carnevale. As we say in Italian, A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale (at carnival any joke is accepted.)

The Burlamacco official mascot of the Viareggio carnival. Photo by Chris Sampson

The Burlamacco official mascot of the Viareggio carnival. Photo by Chris Sampson

The term “carnevale” derives from the Latin “carnem levare” that means “take away the meat.” Originally the term indicated the banquet held the last day before the period of abstinence from meat, i.e. the Christian Lent. Carnevale, according to the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, is set for between Epiphany (January 6th) and the start of Lent. Giovedì Grasso and Martedì Grasso are the last big days of celebration. This year Giovedì Grasso occurs on Thursday February 23 and Martedì Grasso on Tuesday February 28 and this will be the last day of Carnevale.

Fano carnival. Photo by Patrizia

Fano carnival. Photo by Patrizia


The Carnevale is celebrated all around Italy, but some cities are more famous for their Carnevale, like Venezia, Viareggio, Ivrea, Acireale, Fano, and many more.

On the link below you can learn more about Carnevale in various cities all around Italy.

Top 10 Italian towns where to celebrate carnival


Map of the traditional carnival masks.

The traditional Carnevale masks come from different regions, and they each have their particular story. They are an impersonation of different human types in a caricature style. Some of them were created in the 16th century tradition of the “Commedia d’arte italiana” (Comedy of Art) and the “Teatro dei burattini” (Puppet Theater).

To mention some of the most popular, we have Pulcinella from Napoli, Arlecchino from Bergamo, Pantalone from Venezia and more.



Pulcinella is either stupid pretending to be clever, or clever pretending to be stupid. Either way, he is always pretending and self-centered.



Arlecchino is a mixture of ignorance, naiveté, wit, stupidity and grace. He is both a rake and an overgrown boy with occasional gleams of intelligence, and his mistakes and clumsiness often have wayward charm.



Pantalone is a Venetian merchant, rich, greedy and naive. From merchant to nobleman, always having to deal with people trying to take his gold from him. Old but athletic, Pantalone plays the ideal counterpart of an Arlecchino, always without money.


We also have many typical foods for Carnevale, all of them very sweet and mainly fried. Keep your eyes open for recipes coming soon.

Buon Carnevale a tutti!!!!


5 responses to “THE ITALIAN CARNIVAL

  1. Pingback: IL CARNEVALE ITALIANO | The Writers Desk·

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