Carnevale celebrations in Italy, by Ellen Miller

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For those traveling in Italy in the spring, Carnevale is the main event in many cities and is not to be missed. Celebrated across Italy, the celebration is similar to Halloween, for those Americans striving to draw a comparison. And yet, as with many things in Italy, the Italians take the celebration one step further and make it a day of worldwide renown. Carnevale is notable in many Italian towns, though if you have the opportunity to travel, you should hit as many as possible.

Venice is the main city that comes to mind when one thinks of Carnevale and for good reason—the celebration does not stop. The celebrations last almost an entire month, from February 15 to March 4. This year the Carnevale’s theme draws from fantasy and fairy tales. The main piazzas of the city will be crammed with locals and tourists alike, watching the plays and throwing confetti at one another. Still, for the tourist who has never truly seen Venice, you merely have to step a few streets away and the entire celebration falls behind you as you seem to step back in time. Events can change from day to day, and the city maintains a website so that you can get a general idea of what events are happening day to day.

Carnevale in Viareggio, closer to Florence in Tuscany, also has quite notable Carnevale celebrations. The event dates back to 1873 and is known primarily for its papier-mache floats which stun the town in a parade annually. Running from February 16-23 as well as on March 2, 4 and 9, the Carnivale is a favorite of Tuscans who do not want to travel further afield to celebrate. The parade typically happens around three o’clock in the afternoon, though more information can be found on the seaside town’s website.

In Ivrea in Piedmont, a different kind of traditional Carnevale takes place. A parade is the norm, but then instead of throwing confetti, residents begin to pelt each other with oranges. The orange battles take place on the Sunday through Tuesday of Carnevale, and the city finishes off the celebration with the burning of the scarli, tall poles covered with dry bushes.

Almost every Italian town has their own way of celebrating, and a simple internet search can help you find something festive close to wherever you may be during the month. It might be something as simple as masks or confetti, but you never know when you will run across an unusual Italian tradition!

If you fancy staying a little closer to home (or your tourism base) here in Florence, there is no shortage of fun as well! Though the celebrations here might not be as well renowned as those in other Italian towns, Florentines still know how to throw a party. Make sure wherever you are going to get a mask, from the San Lorenzo market or elsewhere, and pick up some confetti to add more to the streets. It is easily available at most euro stores. Specific Florence events will be announced closer to the date, but in the past have included flag throwers, confetti wars and even the burning of a mannequin and the subsequent disposal of its ashes in the Arno. You can’t get more festive than that!

 

 

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Editor-in-chief

Da bambina sognavo di fare la giornalista e studiare fisica quantistica, poi mi sono laureata in Sociologia, soffermandomi sulle differenti tipologie di leadership attraverso le illuminanti opere di William Shakespeare. Qualche idea, però, deve essere stata ben chiara sin da allora perché la giornalista è ciò che faccio e amo fare da adulta. In qualità di Direttore artistico sono stata la prima donna ad aver diretto il Tepidarium del Roster al Giardino dell’Orticoltura di Firenze, la più grande serra in stile Liberty esistente in Italia e la più piccola d’Europa, costruita nel 1859 dall’Accademia dei Georgofili. Collaboro con gallerie e accademie d’arte, scuole, associazioni, musei, università e fondazioni, prevalentemente in Italia, Cina, Stati Uniti e Russia. Nel 2011 sono tra i fondatori dell’Associazione Acontemporaryart di cui sono Presidente; curo e organizzo esposizioni di artisti italiani e stranieri a Firenze, Roma, Venezia, Parigi, etc... Dal 2013 sono Direttore responsabile del giornale Florence is You, 20.000 copie cartacee ogni bimestre, aggiornamenti quotidiani online (www.florenceisyou.com), impostazione bilingue italiano-inglese e partners istituzionali da tutto il mondo. Nell’ottobre 2017 sono stata eletta Accademica d’Onore all’Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze, fondata nel 1563 da Giorgio Vasari e di cui Michelangelo fu primo Accademico. Volevo una macchina da scrivere americana, non una a caso, ma la Underwood, che è poi stata un regalo, decisamente degno di nota, di un fidanzato che per questo autentico merito è ora più di un fratello. Il motto preferito? Il latino “Per aspera ad astra”, ma anche il mediceo “Festina lente” come soleva dire Lorenzo il Magnifico. Anche Seneca ha dato alla mia vita il suo prezioso contributo: “Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est” (Lettere a Lucilio) ovvero “Non esiste vento favorevole per il marinaio che non sa a quale porto vuol approdare”. Più di un mantra, per me. Nella sostanza l’importante è avere le idee chiare e sapere cosa si vuole, da lì è tutto in discesa o, perlomeno, avremo compiuto il primo passo. Ho da sempre una passione per l’arte, pittura, scultura e fotografia espresse anche attraverso linguaggi molto diversificati, dal figurativismo di appannaggio propriamente tradizionale fino ad un lessico più astratto, a ricerche maggiormente concettuali. Scrivo di cultura, arte, cinema e viaggi, nell’ambito luxury travel e turismo enogastronomico. Sono appassionata di musica classica e jazz, con molteplici digressioni sul tema. Mi stanno molto a cuore le tematiche relative all’infanzia e all’educazione delle bambine. Amo i viaggi, anche quelli che non ho ancora fatto, la cioccolata fondente e la mia strepitosa torta di mele, ma, se devo essere sincera fino in fondo (ed ecco la nota del fashion editor che è in me), non posso vivere senza le scarpe di Manolo Blahnik, colui che più di ogni altro ha saputo amabilmente coniugare colore, seta e tacco 12.

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Growing up I always dreamt of becoming a journalist or studying quantum physics. I ended up graduating in Sociology and focused on the different kinds of leaderships through the enlightening works of William Shakespeare. However, I must have already had some level of clarity, as being a journalist is what I do and what I love doing. As artistic director, I have been the first woman to direct the Tepidarium del Roster at the Giardino dell’Orticoltura in Florence, the largest Liberty-style greenhouse in Italy and the smallest in Europe, built in 1859 by the Accademia dei Georgofili. I collaborate with art galleries and academies, schools, associations, museums, universities and foundations, mainly in Italy, China, the United States and Russia. In 2011, I was among the founders of the Acontemporaryart Association, of which I am now President; I curate and organize art shows by both Italian and foreign artists in Florence, Rome, Venice, Paris, etc. Since 2013, I am the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Florence is You, a bimonthly bilingual publication (Italian – English) with institutional partners from all over the world that counts 20.000 paper copiesper issue, as well as daily updates online (www.florenceisyou.com). In October 2017 I was elected Academic Honouree at the Academy of the Arts of Drawing in Florence, founded in 1563 by Giorgio Vasari, and of which Michelangelo was the first Academic. I always wanted an American typewriter, but not any ordinary one, I wanted an Underwood, which I received as a gift, greatly appreciated, from a former boyfriend, who is now more than a brother to me. My favourite motto? The Latin expression “per aspera ad astra,” but also the Medicean “Festina lente,” as said by Lorenzo the Magnificent. Seneca also gave his precious contribution to my life with his: “Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est” (Letters to Lucilius) or “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” This is more than a mantra to me. Fundamentally, I believe that it’s important to have a clear mind as to what you want, then the rest is all downhill, or anyways it’s a first step. I’ve always had a passion for art, painting, sculpture and photography, expressed even through very different languages, from more traditional and figurative art to more abstract lexicons, or even conceptual researches. I write about culture, art, cinema and travel, in the fields of luxury travel and food and wine tourism. I’m passionate about classical and jazz music, with multiple digressions on the subject... Very close to my heart are issues relating to childhood and the education of little girls. I love to travel – even those trips I have yet to take – dark chocolate and my fabulous apple pie, although, if I must be entirely true (and here is the fashion editor in me), I cannot live without the shoes by Manolo Blahnik, he who more than anyone else has been able to amiably combine colour, silk and 12-inch heels.

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