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February : The magic of Carnivale !

Feb 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Our Blog

The good thing about living in Italy is that you go from one holiday to another.  Just as the Christmas season drew to a close in early January another one started—Carnival, the time of merrymaking.  I was surprised to know. after moving here, that Carnivale is celebrated throughout Italy, in all its towns and cities and not just Italy’s most famous Carnival, Venice.  First recorded in 1094,  il Carnevale was an opportunity for people to revel and have fun.  There are jugglers, performances and parties. The disguise hid class, gender and wealth, contributing to the sense of freedom.  It also provided the world famous womaniser,  Giacomo Casanova, with the perfect chance to seduce elegant ladies.  

Today, Venice’s Carnival is once again a mix of street revels and grand masked balls. It only lasts eleven days (against the six weeks of the past) but it is full of water parades, historic re-enactment, music, juggling and delicious fritters. Most of all, it is the masks for which Carnivale is famous, the pale masked faces contrast against the crimson velvets, gold silk and bright feathers of rich Venetian costumes.

Also this month, from 17-21 February, a festival of music takes place in the form of the famous Sanremo Musical Festival.  This year will be its 59th year.  Sanremo’s first musical festival took place in 1961 when it was broadcast on the radio with only 3 singer and the audience kept on dining all the time!!  In 1958, the world famous song “Volare” won the Festival by Domenico Modugno.  Great Italian artists have performed on the Festival stage and even more unbelievable, Andrea Bocelli came 4th in the Sanremo Music Festival in 1994!   

                                                                                

You may also be surprised to hear that the world famous patron saint of Lovers, San  Valentino (St. Valentine)  was the first Bishop of Terni in Umbria and was born there.   The city of Terni is known as the “city of Love” and for the whole month of february, there are lots of events based on this.  Apparently, he m arried a young Christian with a pagan legionnaire because they were in LOVE and the Rome Senate at the time discovered this and had Valentino persecuted.  He became a martyr for the cause and his remains lie in the Basilica in Terni, Umbria.  He was executed on 14 February.

                 

There is no doubt that February in Italy is a period of celebration, whether its merrymaking and fun, music and love – you are certain to enjoy yourself from top to toe Italy. 

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