Things to Do in Italy in February 2022: The Carnival Special

John Bensalhia | Thu, 01/27/2022 - 06:33
Carnival of Acireale

This is a special time of year, as the traditional carnival season gets in full swing. So making a change from the usual pattern are some carnival-themed events which are scheduled for this February.

I say, scheduled. With events of this scale, and with the ongoing  Covid-19 pandemic, it's possible that there may be last minute changes and in some cases, even cancellations. Please be aware that these are provisional listings, with events subject to either change or even postponement, depending on circumstances at the time. Please check the websites and social media pages for any updates.

Venice Carnival

12th February - 1st March 2022


venice carnival

Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, has recently given the go-ahead to this year's carnival in Venice – albeit with some caveats.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, extra precautions are being taken in order to maximise safety of everyone present. This means that some aspects of the carnival  have had to be altered or cancelled. So this year, there will be no opening angel flight from Saint Mark's Bell Tower or the costume competition at Saint Mark's Square.

However, those present with masks and requisite green passes will be allowed free access to Saint Mark's Square and to attend parties and events taking place.

The Venice Carnival is one of the oldest of its kind in Italy, with records dating back to the end of the 11th century. It's regarded as one of the most popular and colourful carnivals, and the green light for this year's celebrations will delight and enchant many.

Carnival in Acireale

12th February - 1st March 2022


Carnival parade along the streets of Acireale

The Sicilian-based Carnival in Acireale is an event of wonder and splendour. The event is pencilled in for 12th February to 1st March.

One of the biggest draws of this carnival is the sight of the wagons – elaborately designed wagons, commonly spearheaded by paper-mâché masks and adorned with flowers and other colourful decorations. Smaller scale wagons are also included in the parades, nicknamed Lilliput, and ideal for kids who want to be involved in the event.

A prize is given to the best wagon on the final day, which is marked in true carnival fashion with fireworks and a party atmosphere.

Viareggio Carnival

12th February - 1st March 2022


viareggio carnival

Wagons are also part and parcel of the Viareggio Carnival, also between 12th February and 1st March. The cornerstone of this carnival (which dates back to 1873) is the parade of eye-catching wagons created with allegory in mind. It's worth pointing out that each year's wagons are constructed with a bit of satire in mind. The political and newsworthy events from around the globe are communicated through imaginatively built wagons, using the faces of those who have made the headlines to take the lead.

An interesting point is that the creations are the work of local artists carrying on the family traditions of their forebears. Fathers and grandfathers passed down the secrets of talented artwork to ensure that today's wagons are as good as ever, if not better. The best constructions are again judged in a final competition.

Cremasco Carnival

13th February - 6th March 2022


With uncertainty remaining all around the world with regards to events happening in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, some carnivals are pressing ahead with celebrations. One of these is the Cremasco Carnival, which is provisionally scheduled for four weekly slots between 13th February and 6th March.

The 35th carnival is set to include some fantastic happenings. It kicks off on 13th February with a free grand gala that begins at Piazza Giovanni XXIII. Making its way through the city streets, the parade includes music, masks and small allegorical floats. Parades and bands will also be present in special masked courses in the coming weeks, as well as markets in Piazza Duomo which are open for much of the day.

Don't forget to keep an eye out for announcements at the above website in case of any changes to the schedules.


Oristano, 27th February - 1st March 2022


Sartiglia carnival

Oristano's Sartiglia is an event that is marked on the final Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival period. This year, on the 27th February and 1st March, the Sartiglia will see knights compete in a jousting contest in order to get their hands on the prize of the Silver Star.

Originating from the Middle Ages, the Sartiglia's carnival atmosphere is heightened by the use of carnival-style masks for the knights, such as Su Componidori, the head knight – and also the build up to the star joust in which the knights make their way towards the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in a parade. The emphasis is on spectacle and entertainment, getting spectators in the mood for the jousting and battle for the Silver Star ahead.

Historical Carnival in Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses

27th February - 1st March 2022


The Historical Carnival in Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses serves as a double function: to mark the passage of Napoleon and his troops through San Bernado's Mountain and to entertain as a carnival in its own right.

The 1800 passage was so vividly recalled to alarm the locals that today's interpretation acts as a very vivid moving tableau. Spectators can see a long cast of players in the parade. As well as Napoleon himself, the parade includes the official guide bearing the banner of the carnival; the caped devil; the dressed and distinctly hatted Demoiselles (accompanied by the Arlequins); the musical Joeurs; the Mascre (featuring sinister black masked and clad figures to signify the darkness of Winter) and the white masks that symbolise the oncoming Spring season.

Various multicoloured masks are then included in this section of the parade as a symbolic banishment of the darkness and evil spirits. Further along, there are the elderly couple, the Torque and Tocca; plus the Trainer and his Bears, as a representation of the cause to fight.