Rugantino, Meo Patacca, Cassandrino, Gaetanaccio, Don Pasquale, general La Rocca. These are all Roman Carnival characters because, yes, Carnival strongly belongs to Rome and what happened in the last few decades can’t erase a thousand-year-old tradition.
The City of Rome has organized for the third year in a row the “Carnevale Romano” which will mostly take place in downtown between this Sunday and March 8. On the 26th the Opening Parade will leave piazza del Popolo at 5:30 pm to go through Via del Corso (whose name actually originates from a 16th century’s Carnival horse race). Everyday between 3pm and 7 pm street theatre, horses, little shows and costumes parades will be held at the Spanish steps, in piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona and Via del Corso. On March 3, at 7 pm, a Russian carnival show will go on stage in piazza del Popolo, while Rome’s horses will parade on March 5 and 6 at 7:30pm in Piazza del Popolo. Sunday the 6th will also feature a morning float parade from piazza della Repubblica and a Latin American Carnival session from piazza Venezia to Colosseum.
On March 7 Carnival-inspired Comedy of Art will delight the crowd from 7pm. Carnival’s last day, March 8, will see jugglers and art comedy on stage at 7pm in piazza del Popolo, followed by fireworks from Pincio.
But Carnival in Rome doesn’t necessarily equate with downtown. In the Tiburtina area (between via Cave di Pietralata and via Casal Bruciato) floats and groups of masks accompanied by music of the 1860s, the typical Roman Carnival characters and other Risorgimento figures will entertainadults and kids in the afternoon of March 6.
Thirdly, in Ostia a puppet theatre show will be held on March 5 from 9am to 12pm, while from 3pm to 6pm Carnival dances, with traditional masks and sweets, will sway piazza delle Repubbliche Marinare. On Sunday, music and theatre in the morning, floats in the afternoon along Corso Duca di Genova.
If in Rome Carnival stopped being a feast for some decades, well it kept being a major tradition in the rest of the region around Rome. Our favorite carnival in Lazio is in Ronciglione, a little village near Vico lake, that is wholly involved in Carnival celebrations attracting people from all over Lazio. The first floats parade will be on Sunday the 27th, other major events will be held on Thursday the 3rd and then from Saturday March 5 to Mardi gras. Pictures of this Carnival are available here.
Floats will parade in Civita Castellana on Feb27 (at 2:30pm), March 6 (at 2:30pm) and 8 (at 2:30pm), whereas March 3 is devoted to kids’ masks (from 4pm). Civita Castellana is easily reachable by public transport, via the local Rome-Viterbo train, departing from piazzale Flaminio, next to the Flaminio underground stop.
The most transgressive Carnival around Rome is in Poggio Mirteto.