Viareggio Carnival 2023: 150 years of great emotions

carnevale di viareggio 2023 carnival of viareggio

The Carnival of Viareggio is the most important carnival in Italy which, with its allegorical floats, has been renewing the magic of a tradition that involves adults and children for 150 years.


The Carnival of Viareggio celebrates 150 years with its huge allegorical floats. The mastery of Viareggio’s papier-mâché makers has always involved children from 0 to 100 years old by narrating reality and imagination, captivating the audience with enormous self-propelled sculptures, as powerful as they are ephemeral.

Born from the imagination of the creators, they take shape in the huge hangars of the Carnival citadel and come alive on the seafront thanks to the work of the many volunteers who, between ropes, levers and gears, give life to the enormous structures, often taller than the buildings, renewing the magic of the ancient carnival festival and also thanks to the many professionalisms, from tailoring to make-up, which make the show perfect in every aspect.

As always, also in this Carnival of Viareggio 2023, many of the first and second category floats, the isolated masks and those in groups, choose highly current themes, particularly painful this year, such as war, ecology, economic hegemony on the part of billionaires which also becomes scientific and technological hegemony (I am thinking of “Musk Attack”), to the sad, inexplicable reality of youth who are born and grow up amid a thousand dreams and hopes to find death at the front.

This year, more than ever, bitter laughter accompanies the festive and deafening procession that enlivens the Viareggio seafront, where imagination rules both on the floats and in the masked crowd.

Despite this, Ondina and Burlamacco never cease to transmit good humour, parading on the colorful float which, between sky and sea, celebrates Viareggio and its beauty.

The promenade is like a necklace, whose pearls are the splendid Liberty architectures that adorn and embellish it, architectures that have seen the event grow exponentially since, back in 1873, the custom of parading with decorated carriages was born on Shrove Tuesday; thanks to the growing success, the parade was permanently transferred along the promenade where the Carnival has grown year after year, so as to give life to a citadel which houses, in addition to the hangars, the Carnival Museum, a space dedicated to the most beautiful mega sculptures, the historical archive, an art collection and educational workshops.

An event, a tradition, a philosophy: “Let’s give Libeccio (wind) thoughts and boredom: life is beautiful, life is joy!”

Benedetta Tintillini

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