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Upcoming Italian Festivals this February 2015

As we begin a new month in 2015, the festivities around Italy are just beginning. February is a month filled with lively festivals that locals and tourists can certainly enjoy. Considering that this is pre-Lenten season, expect to see a lot of Carnival events happening around country. It may be difficult to keep track of which festival or event you want to attend during this time, so we’ve listed a few of the more notable celebrations that happen during this month.

Carnevale di Venezia

Venice_masks

Considered as one of most elegant Carnival events in the world, the Carnevale di Venezia is an elaborate spectacle that brings people back to a time of elite parties full of opulence and historical ambience.  It is distinct from other Carnivals due to its more formal air. The wearing of masks or maschera also has principal importance throughout the event, where people from all walks of society can join the Carnival under a veil of mystery and anonymity. Each type of mask has its own special symbolism and function that people wear to fit their personality and purpose for joining the Carnival.

This year’s Carnival already began last January 31 and will run all the way until February 17. While you may have missed the official opening of the event at St. Mark’s Square, there are still many balls and events that can still be attended throughout the Carnival. The daily theater performances, such as those being held at the Gran Teatro, can be attended across Venice for those looking for lively musical and theatrical entertainment. Finally, visitors can join the ten day finale to the event in the Notte de la Taranta, which is topped off with a beautiful fireworks display to end the Carnival.

Viareggio Carnevale

Carnival-of-ViareggioAnother Carnival event that is held in Viareggio, it is considered the second most popular Carnival in Italy. It begins on February 8, with grand parades being held every Sunday until the 22nd. The parades are celebrated leading up to the day before Ash Wednesday (Fat Tuesday), where a live televised event will be shown across the country. Each parade will start off with a triple cannon shot from the sea, with lavishly decorated floats traveling along the Lungomare promenade. Those interested in the creation of these floats can take a tour of the workshops that make them at the Cittadella del Carnivale, a vast complex where they are created by the various craftsmen.

Up to a million people attend the Carnival every year where they can enjoy a variety of concerts and other cultural events. There are also nightly masquerade parties (veglioni) that people can enjoy to get into the spirit of the festivities.

Battle of the Oranges

The Battle of the Oranges is part of the Carnevale di Ivrea and re-enacts the historic fight between the local townsfolk against a tyrant ruler. The actual event culminates on the 17th of February this year and will involve the use of around 500,000 kilograms of oranges for the mock battle. The battle is not a free-for-all that anyone can just participate in, though. It is actually a very structured and highly competitive event, with nine teams of almost 4,000 people trying their best to pelt the armored occupants of horse-drawn carts that represent the oppressive “lord’s followers”. It’s not uncommon for participants to receive sizable bruises after the battle due to the intense nature of the event. Still, the townspeople of Ivrea consider this part of their birthright and their culture, so receiving orange-sized bruises are well worth it in the end.

Almond Blossom Fair

This is a weeklong festival that begins on the first until the second Sunday of the month in Agrigento, Sicily. Those looking to enjoy some traditional Sicilian sweets will enjoy the buffet of almonds and almond paste being served throughout the festival. Expect to see people in colorful costumes and flower decorations all around. The festival culminates in a Sicilian cart parade and fireworks to cap off the event. There is also an International Folklore Festival that runs alongside it, with puppet shows, open-air performances and music being common events that can be seen during the festival.

saintvalentinesOlive and Bruschetta Festival

The Umbrian town of Spello has its farmers parade on their tractors decorated with olive branches as makeshift floats. Celebrated on the third Sunday of February, taverns throughout the township will be open to visits and tastings of the fine oil and samples of bruschetta that is characteristic to the region. This celebration of the olive harvest is usually accompanied with performances of traditional music.

Valentine’s Day

While not as widely celebrated as those in the United States, Italy still follows in the tradition of gift and flower giving between lovers on this day. The 14th of February is especially celebrated in the Umbrian town of Terni, which has claimed Saint Valentino as their patron saint. There is a torchlight parade celebrated during this day in honor of the event.

There is certainly a lot to celebrate in Italy during the month of February. There’s absolutely no reason not to go there, so feel free to book your trip and join in the festivities.

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By Priscila Siano (264 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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