Don’t Miss out on Viareggio Carnevale! When you think Carnevale, you might picture something like a packed Bourbon Street in New Orleans for Mardi Gras or an elaborate festival with masks and costumes in Rio de Janeiro. Carnevale in Italy is a little different, but it definitely has one thing in common with the other festivals: it’s a party you don’t want to miss out on.
While Venice may seem like the more common destination for carnevale in Italy, Viareggio shouldn’t be overlooked. The coastal town about an hour outside Florence has been putting on this month-long party since 1873, and it has now grown into the largest Italian folk festival with a yearly budget of €5 million. The town comes alive during the festival weeks with masked parties every afternoon, special live performers, and, of course, the legendary parades.
The parade loop runs along Viareggio’s seaside avenue, Passeggiata, and is known for its extravagant papier-maché floats. The floats are often modeled after public figures and can weigh up to 40 tons. This year, a giant warrior Donald Trump was already featured in one of the first parades. This is the content every American comes abroad to see. So, how can you attend this year’s festival?
Here’s everything you need to know to plan a successful day trip:
Tickets: Tickets are €20 and can be purchased online at www.carnevaleviareggio.vivaticket.it/eng or at the ticket office when you get there.
Transportation: Catch a train from Florence straight to Viareggio for just €9.90. It’s about a 1.5-hour ride. So convenient! The last direct train back on a Sunday in at 9:52pm so you can enjoy the whole day. Book tickets online or on the Trenitalia App or in the train station from the ticket machines. www.trenitalia.com
Dates: You may have missed the first parade of the season, but don’t worry – you have four opportunities to make up for it! The remaining 2019 parades will be held Sunday, 17th and Saturday, 23rd of February and Sunday, 3rd and Tuesday, 5th of March.
Times: We recommend getting to Viareggio for lunch so you can enjoy some of the local seafood and enjoy the charming city before the real festivities begin. All the parades start at 3pm with the exception of the one on the 23rd of February, which starts at 5pm.
Any other information you’ll need can be found on the Viareggio Carnevale official website: www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/