Everything goes at Carnival, right?! The people from Viareggio know very well this quote and they’ve been showing too since 1837, when the first allegorical float went down Via Regia, right in the centre of Viareggio, starting the first ever edition of the so called “Carnevale Di Viareggio”. At the time the occasion gave the chance to masked bourgeois to protest the high taxes; one-hundred and eighty-one years later this event has become the most important Italian Carnival, along with the Venetian one, and one of the most participated in Europe as well.
The main feature of the Viareggio Carnival is no doubt its huge and animated parade floats; at the top of these floats, which now parade by the city’s coastline, usually there are massive paper-made caricatures of politician, celebrities, and culture personalities; not certainly to endorse them or support them, but, more often than not, to mock them and joke about their contradictions and flaws. People from Tuscany are well known in Italy for their irreverent sense of humour and here in Viareggio it is in full display during the Carnival days. Satire, though, is not the only theme of the Carnival; current events, domestic and foreign, are also showed on the floats making the parade a sort of colourful, fun, and exaggerate mean to shout out opinions and thoughts.
There are also winners and losers among the floats: the carnival, in fact, is a competition between all the floats, at stake are the honour and livelihoods of many people. In a system like sporting leagues, any two years whoever receives the least points is pushed into the category below, and whoever wins moves up a category.
Competition, colourful parades, satire, meaningful messages, and an impressive show of skills and creativity. Everything goes at Carnival!
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