#250 I miss carnevale – 5

Carnevale di Viareggio, Lucca, Tuscany, from 1873

Burlamacco is the official maschera (lit. ‘mask’, but actually ‘character, figure’), the symbol of the event

created in 1931 by the painter Uberto Bonetti

Carnevale di Fano, Pesaro-Urbino, is the most ancient one, after the Carnevale di Venezia, celebrated for the first time in 1347

Carnevale di Ivrea, Torino, since 1808, and the famous battaglia delle arance (‘oranges battle’)

(See also “I miss Carnevale – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4”




https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/241-i-miss-carnevale-4/ )


#241 I miss Carnevale – 4

Il Carnevale di Venezia was mentioned for the fist time in an official document in 1094, and declared a public feast in 1296 by the Senato della Repubblica.

The people all around Venice used to wear masks and costumes in order to hide their identity, breaking any social/gender/religious barrier

The typical characters of the Commedia dell’arte became popular carnival costumes: the stupid servant Zanni, the wise one Arlecchino, the old greedy man Pantalone, the arrogant doctor Balanzone, the beautiful maid Colombina…

Saluti da Venezia

(See also “I miss Carnevale – 1 – 2 – 3




#239 I miss cioccolata calda

Here in the States hot chocolate is a beverage made of milk or water (!) and chocolate powder.

Someone adds marshmallows.

But in Italy a good cioccolata calda, is dark, thick, and made with milk only, perhaps with a nice topping of sweet, heavy, whipped cream (the real one).


Needless to say that the average Italian doesn’t even know what a marshmallow is.

#238 I miss Carnevale – 3

As the Romans said: Semel in anno licet insanire

‘once a year it is allowed to go crazy’

This Latin sentence became a proverb in the Middle Ages, and was often used to describe carnevale.

In the Middle Ages it was the period of craziness right before Lent, time of privation and prayer.

(Peter Brugel, Carnival versus Lent, Carnival is represented by people on the left, Lent is the ugly, skynny, old woman on the right)

In the XV century great feste carnascialesche (‘festivals’) were organized in bigger cities, with music, dance, and songs,

Lorenzo the Magnificent organized big celebrations with canti carnascialeschi (‘Carnival songs’), such as his Trionfo di Bacco e Arianna by Lorenzo the Magnificent, and trionfi, procession with big and extravagant floats, inspired to mythological figures and designed by the greatest artists

Huge carri allegorici (‘allegorical floats’) are still used in many carneval festivals all around Italy, such as Viareggio

(See also “I miss carnevale – 1 – 2” https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/229-i-miss-carnevale-1/

https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/232-i-miss-carnevale-2/ )

#232 I miss Carnevale – 2

Dolci di Carnevale!

Chiacchiere (‘chat’) or Cenci  (‘cloth’) in Tuscany, or Frappe in Lazio: sweet, crips, patry, deep fried and covered with sugar

Frittelle di Carnevale, or castagnole, or frittole

Zeppole, the Italian donut

Cicerchiata or struffoli

(See also “I miss carnevale – 1” https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/229-i-miss-carnevale-1/ )

#229 I miss Carnevale – 1

Carnevale is a catholic feast, from Latin carnem levare (carnem ‘meat’, levare ‘give away’) traditionally used for the banquet on the day before Quaresima (‘Lent’), martedì grasso, in French mardi gras (lit. ‘fat tuesday’) .

E dopo Carnevale farem Quaresima (‘After Carnevale we will have Lent’) the proverb says. After a big party we will need to purify.

Carnevale originates from ancient pagan rituals and celebrations, such as Greek Dionysia festival, or Roman Saturnalia, during which all social hierarchies and obligations were temporarily suspended, creating a period of Chaos, a world upside down, symbol of renewal.


People used to wear masks, costumes, and partying.

In Italy there are many famous Carnevali, in several towns, a variety of traditional costumes, and typical foods.