An inspirational festival full of creativity and meanings – Viareggio Carnival
By Michal Bardavid
01:07

Music, joy and laughter filled the streets of Viareggio as the Carnival began!

The annual event, with over 140 years of history, attracts thousands of visitors from all across Italy and further afield.

Though the carnival includes parties, performances firework shows, competitions and dances, the highlight of the Viareggio Carnival is marked with a parade of massive allegorical papier-mâché floats.

The floats, which require a lot of effort and time, are a work of art. Creating them necessitates mastery.

A whale float at Viareggio Carnival Parade. /CGTN Photo

A whale float at Viareggio Carnival Parade. /CGTN Photo

But the floats are not just about creating something beautiful – each has a meaning behind it. The creators express their thoughts and passions in their art.

One of the stars of 2019 was no doubt – U.S. President Donald Trump who had not one, but two floats dedicated to him, or rather dedicated to criticizing him. 

One float titled the "Moon Dream" has Trump wearing PJs, surrounded by stars with a bright moon and a spaceship behind him. The description reads: "Trump's dreams of returning to our satellite to reaffirm American supremacy."

A float dedicated to migrants at sea at Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

A float dedicated to migrants at sea at Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

Another issue depicted during the carnival was Europe's migrant issue.

One ship featured people reaching out and others below trying to survive waters. The artist intended to show the plight of sea-borne refugees, with an artwork inspired by the famous painting, "The raft of the Medusa."

It's a sensitive issue for Italy no doubt, as the new populist government intensifies anti-immigration policies.

The president of the Viareggio Carnival foundation Maria Lina Marcucci, who has been organizing the event since 1987 stresses that their philosophy is all about inclusiveness. She says that since Viareggio is "A little town facing the sea the vision is that we want to welcome, those who are in need. The message that Viareggio Carnival wants to send is that for those who are in need there is always hope."

A scene of the Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

A scene of the Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

Issues concerning environmental pollution were also tackled, with an enormous whale entangled in plastic gliding through the crowds. And with many children attending the festival, a critical topic for young people was raised: bullying. Beasts that hid behind a wall appeared with large claws ripping through a gigantic book, representing the evil that can be hidden even in the safest places.

A float of U.S. President Donald Trump at Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

A float of U.S. President Donald Trump at Viareggio Carnival parade. /CGTN Photo

The atmosphere of the festival resembled one big party. DJs were playing at every corner, with people dancing along to each new beat that passes by with the moving parade. Those who attend the carnival also enjoy taking part even in the simplest way – by wearing a piece of costume, be it a bright colored wig or a full body animal costume. 

All day long people wearing masks and hats are seen along the streets of Viareggio preparing for the fun that is yet to come. Though the parade starts midday – as the sun sets, the floats light up adding even more color and energy to the parade. An inspiring and fun experience for children and adults alike.