Barga Carnivale – a huge success

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The Carnivale 2011 started in Barga Giardino this afternoon with hundreds of children taking part in the celebrations. This evening it was the turn of the larger participants as the full force of the Carnival moved up into Barga Vecchia. All of the restaurants who participated in the event were full this evening with masked and costumed revellers enjoying the carnival atmosphere.

Many of the restaurants had chosen a theme for their evening: the Altana was decked out with images and characters from the Quentin Tarantino film, “Kill Bill”, just down the road at Mordimi there was a 60 ‘s night in full swing and the Scacciaguai who have been gradually making a name for themselves with their carefully organised themed events – last year it was all based on cinema but this year they had surpassed themselves with the theme of circus complete with lion tamers, tartot card readers and acrobats.


Listen to the short interview with Riccardo (in Italiano) recorded outside the Scacciaguai – you can hear in the background quite plainly the crack of the whip from the moustachioed lion tamer in the background.





Last year at the end of the article on Carnivale we wrote “a huge success for the organisers of this event and one which next year will probably be even more attended once word goes round the city this morning on just how well it was organised and attended” and in fact that is just how it turned out at the Carnevale on the Fosso last night as midnight came round and the restaurants started to empty as everybody then moved up to the large tent erected on the car park at Fosse for dancing until 3 am with DJ Dior and for anybody still peckish, grills snacks on offer thanks to the ever present Lake Angels.

Estimates vary on just how many costumed and masked figures were milling round the Fosso during the evening and late into the morning but probably more than 2000 would be a very estimate, making the event after just its second year of being in existence, the largest evening carnival event in the valley.


Some of the costumes this year were stunning but special mention must be made of Mr. Rocket from the Altana – just watch the short video below to see how creative some people are. Whilst on the subject of creativity, another event during the evening which caused much hilarity was the arrival of a video game character astride a mini motorbike who rode into the crowd of dancers, circled round and then out again and sped off in a cloud of exhaust fumes never to be seen again … only to be replaced minutes later by another this time carrying a noisy leaf blower which he used with a degree of dexterity not on any fallen leaves but pointing straight up women’s skirts, causing the “Marilyn Monroe effect” … he too disappeared after a while.

The word carnival, comes from the Latin carnem levare, an expression used in the middle ages which marked the beginning of the Lenten fast- a time of the year during which one was not allowed to eat meat (carne in Latin).
But like many other festivals, it derives from an ancient Roman cult the Saturnalia, a pagan rites of fertility which were celebrated in honour of the god Saturn. During those celebrations everything was allowed, even disguising and change of rules. Carnivals were modified substantially because of its magic and ritual nature with Christianity, but it still was tolerated by the clergy. During the 15th and 16th century some traditions were recaptured and the use of masks spread over much of the area.

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