In the wake of the Commedia dell’Arte masks, Viareggio created its Carnival in the 30ies of last century and became one of the most important Festival in Italy and in the World.
It actually started in 1873, probably designed among jokes and quipes at the tables of the Casino Cafe, in the at the time already vivid charming sea resort of Viareggio.
The first carriages carried by horses gradually became the nowadays world-recod huge floats carrying massive puppets depicting international entairtainment and political life characters as well as the Carnival Masks.
The mask of Burlamacco is the typical Viareggio Carnival character, featuring a mix of the Comedia dell’Arte characteristic traits: he wears a red and white checkered suit (the colors of the Viareggio’s beach umbrellas), taken from Arlecchino’s checkered dress, a pompon borrowed from Pierrot, a wide white ruff like Captain Spaventa, and a fluttering black cape similar to the one of Balanzone.
Burlamacco takes its name from a Viareggio dockyard and appeared for the first time in a 1931 poster, in the company of Ondina, a female swimmer advertising character, the symbol of a sunny, joyful summer season.
The Viareggio Carnival is a local frenzy infecting people, bringing bliss in every street of Viareggio for about a month, in a long, contagious party fever!
Every district has its own corso – convoy of floats – and its traditions, in a joyful competition to make the best Viareggio Carnival. Visiting the town during all Carnival time (about a month before the ash wednesday which start the Fashing time) you will be surprised by parties, masquerades and street music, literally around every corner, an amazing expereince also for kids.
The Viareggio Carnival 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo and Greta Thunberg dominate the “Corso”
This year, Cristiano Ronaldo and Greta Thunberg dominated the floats convoy, with a beautifuly made papier-mache homage of the portoguese champion starring in the Juventus footbal club and the Swedish activist.
But the party is not over yet!
A crescendo of events for the coming Carnival Week is still planned in Viareggio.
There will be six Masked Courses of the Viareggio Carnival 2020 scheduled from 1 to 25 February. Viareggio Carnival 2020 features the night parade on Thursday 20 February, to celebrate the last Thursday before Fashing.
Tuesday 25th, the grand finale with the announcement of the winners and the closing fireworks.
How to get to Viareggio and its Carnival
The train is definitely the best way to get to VIareggio in the days of the Carnival, when a lot of visitors are flocking to the upper Tuscany town from all over the country.
If you are coming by car, the Viareggio exit is on the A12 highway.
Pisa is the closest airport to reach the seaside town.