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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
Each year thousands of tourists attend Italian festivals to experience the rich culture and intriguing traditions which have shaped the country. Festivals in Italy are usually based on historical or religious events and involve long processions with citizens dressed in the costumes of that period, although many are just an excuse for the community to eat and drink all together! From fireworks to town contests, dancing to flag throwers - and of course lots and lots of food - these are some of the most famous Italian festivals you don’t want to miss!
This is by far one of the most exciting festivals in Italy and my personal favourite – Carnival! Carnevale is most famous in Venice for its week-long parades and beautiful masks but it is actually celebrated in many towns throughout Italy. The first Carnevale dates back to 1268 in Venice although its characteristics have changed overtime due to the Italian law. When the festival first started citizens were allowed to wear masks from Santo Stefano (December 26) to Shrove Tuesday for Carnival and then again in October for Ascension; this meant people would invest greatly in masks and spend a large part of the year wearing them! When Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio in the 18th century Austrians gained control over Venice and carnival celebrations seized to exist for many years. Only in the 1970s, when the modern Carnival mask we know of today was made, did the festival commence once again. Today along with dressing up in masks towns also make their own floats for a parade (Tuscany is very famous for its floats) and everyone will go see them. Carnevale can degenerate as young kids often tend to throw flour, foam or even raw eggs at each other! Although the festival can get out of hand it still remains one of strong traditions, great food, amazing floats and stunning masks.
IL PALIO DI SIENA:
Siena’s palio horse race is another extremely renowned event held twice a year, in July and August. Ten horses and their respective riders represent the 17 city wards of Siena as the race around one of Europe’s greatest Medieval Squares, Il campo di Siena. The square is known for its astonishing architecture and beauty and is in the shape of a shell surrounded by the Palazzo Pubblico and Torre Del Mangia.
L’ARDIA DI SAN COSTANTINO:
This horse race takes place annually in Sedilo, Sardinia, to commemorate Constantine’s victory in AD 312 when he defeated Maxentious at the Mulvian Bridge. Allegedly Constantine envisioned a red cross inscribed with the following words: ‘in this sign thou shall conquer’. On the evening prior to the race all horse riders join together to listen to a local priest or the mayor outside the sanctuary grounds as he prays for their safety during the race. They eventually walk to the sanctuary where they receive blessings by the priest seven times! Constantine’s charge is recreated during the race and just one person a year can be chosen to play his role, and only once he has received special recognition from God. Like Carnevale and Il Palio di Siena, L’ardia di San Constantino brings Italy’s glorious traditions and mouth-watering food together in one festival, if you ever do visit Italy attending at least one of these festival is a must!