From Shrek to Sci-fi – Viterbo’s Carnival
By Brigid Cook USAC student
Carnival is the celebration occurring in Italy immediately before Lent. It is a time where one’s identity and sexuality is masked, giving a certain freedom from the usual social behavioural norms. In other words, people can “cut loose”. Every region in Italy has its own costumes, rituals and festivities.
At Carnival in Viterbo, the streets are covered in multi-coloured confetti. The entire Piazza is filled with laughter and smiles. Loud lively music is played, echoing through the streets and contributing to an exciting and energetic atmosphere. A seemingly endless parade of vibrantly decorated floats of all shapes and sizes streams through the streets past an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers.
Carnival this year was my first parade experience. I was lucky enough to have a spot in the front row to see the magic of the parade. A big thanks to the lovely man who gave me a spot in front of him so I could see.
With gelato in hand, I was left to be enthralled by the character-filled festivities. At first the costumes seemed normal enough: a marching band, some masked ladies and a few dancers, but then the really personality-rich costumes came out. “Orange is the new black” themed groups, sci-fi characters like guardians of the galaxy, and American country music themed groups. The amount of time and effort spent crafting coordinated dance moves and the intricate costumes is truly amazing. Every group I saw looked stunning and brought a big smile to my face.
With confetti falling like snow from the hands of the exuberant festival crowd, I spotted the first float that truly surprised me: a giant float themed on the popular animated movie Shrek. If I wasn’t astonished before, I truly was then. Other significant floats included Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio’s whale, and the Viking riding a dragon. All surprising and completely different to my expectations of the event.
The parade ends and a band continues to play while men on stilts dance amongst the crowd. Children play by throwing confetti and spraying parade goers, including me, with silly string. Gelato stores have lines out of the door and everywhere you look there’s magic.
The party doesn’t end there. Viterbo’s bars are filled with costumed members of the parade, and others who want to join in on the celebrations. So, to keep the night alive, why not head out to bars like Eat, or the 77 Club in order to see how the locals like to celebrate? You won’t be disappointed.
Overall, the Carnival parade in Viterbo is another wacky event that contributes to the rich character of the town. The crazy random costumes and floats, the atmosphere and excitement of the crowd are just some of my favourite elements of the celebrations. From sci-fi, to Disney, to prisoners, this parade appeals to everyone of all ages and from all walks of life.0