Vetralla’s Carnevale

February 4, 2010 / Events
Vetralla, Lazio

If you have ever wondered what Carnival was like in Rome 180 years ago, you can read Charles Dickens “Pictures in Italy” or you can experience the festivities in Ronciglione and Vetralla during the next two Sundays before Lent begins.

These country-style Carnivals should not be compared to the collective frenzy that invades Rio or the famous Carnivals of Venice and Viareggio, but the grotesque masks and costumes do break down social barriers giving everyone a mid-winter break and a chance to joke, dance and flirt.

vetrallacarnevale2The riderless horse race in Ronciglione, very similar to that Dickens described along Rome’s Via del Corso, injects an annual note of energy and daring in the otherwise sleepy hilltop town. Vetralla’s colorful carri (floats) pulled by tractors and multi-generational costumed groups spoof politicians and cartoon characters.

For the first time in history, the local Carabinieri confiscated the generous supplies of vino that usually are consumed during the parade …this could be the cause of the sad faced Simpsons in last Sunday’s parade.


Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

Mary Jane is a historian, cruise lecturer, author and publisher of books on Italian history and central Italy has been residing in Italy for half a century.

See her award winning website and weekly blog posts on 50YearsInItaly for more about central Italy and to order books directly from the author.

5 Responses to “Vetralla’s Carnevale”

  1. Lee McIntyre

    All these smaller Carnevale celebrations throughout Italy are such great fun, aren’t they. Thanks for sharing the Note and pictures!

  2. Gian Banchero

    Here in the States we have Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas as our big holidays; when I started living in Italy it was such a joy to find so many other types of celebrations, be them sagras or saints’ days or any reason for the community to gather together. Needless to say that during summer Italy and its gioia da vivere allows for the biggest Celebration of Life in the universe. Thank you…

  3. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    The sad faced Simpsons photo is a work of art! An anthropologist’s dream.
    Super note Mary Jane. Here in Naples we know it’s that time of year as we dodge little bunches of giggling schoolboys who have cans of silly string at the ready…

  4. mary jane

    thanks for all the nice replies… I just stood in the middle of the parade and snapped away. More photos of last Sunday can be seen on Elegant Etruria Friends page of FB.


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