Preparations are in full swing as Italy prepares for carnival on 26th January. Events and celebrations will take place during January and February in Venice and visitor numbers are expected to be in the millions.
Celebrations for the Carnival of Venice will go on until the 12th February and several other mini carnivals are expected to take place elsewhere in Italy, including the Carnival of Acireale in Sicily, the Carnival of Putignano in Puglia and the Carnival of Cento in the Emilia-Romagna region of the country.
The Carnival of Venice dates back to 1162, when in honour of the victory of the Republic of Venice against the Patriarch of Aquileia, people started to celebrate and dance in the streets. Today the carnival sees around 3 million visitors each year. One of the most anticipated events of carnival each year is the contest for best mask which takes place during the last week of the Carnival of Venice. The winner is decided by a jury of international fashion designers who then crown the winner “La Mascher più bella”.
Carnival takes place during the days leading up to lent and ends on Shrove Tuesday. As the main event ends and fasting commences many other celebrations begin, including the Carnival of Viareggio, a festival famous for its parade of floats and papier-mâché figures of famous politicians and other people of interest.
Later on in the year more festivals arrive in Italy, with the Carnivale Dei Figli Di Bocco kicking off on the 1st April for a week, which is renowned for its eccentric and beautiful baroque costumes.