Traditional sweets for your Carnival in Italy

Traditional Carnival sweets of Italy: another reason to join the festivities.

1 Feb 2019

From Venice to Acireale in Sicily, peoples all over the country celebrate the beginning of Lent in style. But one thing that visitors often fail to appreciate about Carnival (or "Carnevale" in Italian) is that it's also a major culinary event. In a way, that's not a surprise. Lent is a time when people give up luxuries, but before that, why not stage one of the year's biggest feasts?

What kind of carnival sweets do Italians consume at Carnevale?

If you're looking for carnival sweets, Italy offers an incredibly diverse set of treats to discover. When carnival swings around, sweet foods take centre stage. We don't want visitors to miss out on any of the delicacies available, so here's a quick gastronomic guide to Carnival.

Discover the beauty of Italy's carnival fritters.

However, there's an even more enticing set of sweets to try when Carnival arrives: fritters. These rich little beauties are a little like doughnuts, being deep-fried, often with a touch of rum and a sweet batter.

Fritters can be made from a wide range of basic ingredients. Sometimes you'll be presented with towers of fried apple (more of a northern style). Other times, pastry chefs will prepare delicate doughs and match fritters with cherry (as in Naples, where you'll find the famous zeppole di San Giuseppe).

Sometimes, restaurants like to pile up deep-fried dough balls (or "frittelle"). But don't assume these desserts are one dimensional. When you bite into them, you'll find that the chefs have filled them with cream or custard mixtures. And you'll be in sugar-dusted, deep-fried heaven.

Take a chunk of delicious carnival cakes.

Alongside fritters and sweet takes on savoury dishes, Carnevale is also a major occasion for Italy's artisan cake makers. For instance, if you're a fan of cheesecake (and who isn't?), you'll be spoiled for choice.

In Naples, chefs like to prepare sugar-dusted ricotta cakes flavoured with limoncello liqueur. Known as "migliaccio", this cake is much lighter than western-style cheesecakes, so it's the perfect snack for filling gaps in your schedule.

Down in Sicily, you'll find cassata-style cheesecakes made with sheep's ricotta, while those visiting our UNAHOTELS Vittoria Firenze can't miss the city's irresistible "schiacciata" cakes.

Wherever you travel, ask our staff about local carnival sweets. They will be delighted to show you what the local area has to offer and they'll be sure to know the best bakeries and restaurants where you can sample the finest sweets in town.

Enjoy carnival sweets of Italy and much more.

Carnival has plenty more than just festive sweet: there are many sights, sounds and tastes to explore.

For example, Venice hosts a famous series of masked parades and balls, where the people of the city continue an extravagant tradition which dates back to the era when Venice dominated the Mediterranean.

If you want to explore Tuscany at carnival-time, Viareggio is another amazing place to be. The city hosts Italy's second most famous carnival celebrations, featuring massive, colourful floats.

In Ivrea, Piedmont, things are a little different (and not for the faint-hearted). This historic town is famous for its orange-throwing festivities which have been dubbed Italy's largest food fight.

Carnival accommodation - close to the action.

If you want to join the celebrations, be sure to do so with Gruppo UNA. Hotels like the Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze and Versilia Lido | UNA Esperienze. And Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze near Viareggio are superb places to base yourself as you dive into one of the most exciting events on the Italian calendar.

For a distinctive southern celebration, why not head to Acireale? Not far from Gruppo UNA's Sicilian hotels like the Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze Acireale's procession is a riot of colour, creativity and flowers. The streets become filled with the scent of flowers and the sound of music. It's a magical place to be.

Wherever you travel to for carnival, we'd love to host you. So pick a venue, find a hotel, and get ready for delicious sweets and unforgettable experiences. That's what carnival is all about.