Italy’s Five Most Beautiful, Evocative Carnivals

A Journey of Discovery among Traditions and Celebrations in Italy.

20 Jan 2020

Gruppo UNA

Rites, parties, events, carnival floats… From north to south, Sicily to Trentino, in the month of February every village, hamlet and town in Italy is preparing to celebrate the ancient tradition of Carnival. Every year, Carnival fancy dress parades, fireworks, music and figurative arts invade Italy with a busy programme of not-to-be-missed traditions, events and parades for young and old alike.
Already worked out what you’re going to dress up as in 2020? Then, come with us to discover Italy’s five most beautiful and evocative Carnival celebrations.

9 February – 26 February: Ivrea Carnival, 2020.

Known for its spectacular “Battle of Oranges”, the Ivrea Carnival has ancient origins. Through this huge popular festival of great symbolic value, the community of Ivrea celebrates an episode of liberation from tyranny, when they rose up against the Marquis of Monferrato, who had been starving the city for years.
Around 600 tonnes of oranges are brought in every year to ensure the success of the famous “Battle of Oranges”, the most colourful episode in the Ivrea Carnival. These oranges are used by “on-foot orangers” as a weapon to defend themselves against “fighters” on the floats, who symbolize the powers of evil.
Why did they choose this fruit? The red juice is said to best represent the blood shed during the popular uprising against the Marquises of Monferrato, and during the destruction of the “Castellazzo”.

Ivrea Carnival


Where to stay near Ivrea.

Looking for exclusive accommodation within reach of Ivrea but don’t want to miss out on a stopover in Turin? The Principi di Piemonte | UNA Esperienze offers a privileged city location. An example of ancient splendour, the hotel offers all mod cons, including an elegant spa and wellness centre, as well as spacious and elegant guest rooms and suites with exceptional views over the city.

 Principi di Piemonte | UNA Esperienze


9 February – 29 February: Putignano Carnival, 2020.

Considered the oldest carnival celebration in Europe, this year the Putignano Carnival reaches its 626th edition. The event is succession of sacred and profane rites, traditions, parades and processions, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, the closing day of Carnival, with a grand finale night when the Maccheroni Bell tolls 365 times to officially mark the end of the celebrations and the beginning of Lent.
The most characteristic rite of this Carnival? Extreme Unction: on the eve of Shrove Tuesday, a masked procession in priestly vestments moves through the streets of the town, blessing onlookers and proclaiming a biography of the dying Carnival in the vernacular.

Where to sleep near Putignano.

If you want to treat yourself to a holiday in Puglia during the Carnival period and visit the surroundings of Bari, UNAHOTELS Regina Bari is the perfect hotel for you. An Apulian atmosphere welcomes you in a structure that boasts indoor and outdoor pools, wellness and fitness facilities, a large conference centre and comfortable, luxurious rooms. All you have to do is book!



8 February – 25 February: The Venice Carnival, 2020.

Without doubt one of the most famous Carnivals in the world, every year the Venice Carnival attracts more than a million visitors. Its best-known characteristic? Masks and sumptuous garments parading through the streets of the town centre, giving the lagoon a unique atmosphere. Among the most evocative moments of the Venetian carnival is the spectacular Flight of the Angel (or Flight of the Columbine). This “thrilling” event features a real-live performer hooked to a metal cable, who descends on a rope from the top of St. Mark’s Bell Tower to reach the Doge’s Palace suspended over the void.

Venice Carnival


Where to sleep in central Venice.

Gruppo UNA has two solutions for your Carnival-time stay in Venice. Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze, a prestigious recently-renovated building, offers its guests an authentic Venetian atmosphere in its luxurious, beautifully-furnished rooms. And Residenza Venezia welcomes you into comfort and refinement with six elegant rooms strategically positioned between Venice Santa Lucia and the Rialto Bridge.

Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze




The Folklore Carnival at Mamoiada.

Forget the colours, confetti and colourful masks typical of Carnival, because the Carnival of Mamoiada, a Sardinian village in the province of Nuoro, is shrouded in a gloomy, almost funereal atmosphere with the typical costumes of the Mamutohnes and Issohadores: black and red respectively, they represent the end and a propitiatory beginning for the harvest. The festivities reach their peak between Thursday and Shrove Tuesday, with bonfires, parades and ancient local traditions.

Mamoiada Carnival


9 February – 23 February: The Historic Carnival at Ronciglione.

For more than three centuries, the famous Hussars’ Ride has been the centrepiece of Carnival festivities at Ronciglione, in the province of Viterbo. The event recalls the love of a young captain in the French Hussars for a noble lady. How could he ever win her over? By galloping up and down the town’s streets, declaring his love.
The Hussars are the protagonists of this Carnival: groups of horsemen dressed in nineteenth-century costumes gallop at breakneck speed through the streets of the town, recalling the historical episode.