Carnival is not over in Rome! Everywherelse yes, but not here…. And when Lent starts in the Christian world there is a little city, Poggio Mirteto, only 65 kms away from Rome and easily reachable by local train, where the party is just starting.
Carnevalone Liberato is a one-day event. This year it will be on Sunday 13.
Why they celebrate Carnival so late? The answer is not so easy and immediate and goes back to Rome’s 19th century history. It began as an expression of discontent towards Papacy, when the Church was still a middle-sized state. Because of this provocatory goal, ever since its beginnings the Carnevale Liberato was set for the first Sunday of Lent—traditionally a period of fasting and abstinence— and countered the mortification of the body and exultation of the spirit with abundant banquets of meat and unbridled merrymaking. It was a period where anything could happen—not just things forbidden during the forty days of Lent, but also things that normally weren’t even possible given the poor conditions of the farming world. Carnival was a chance for farmers to feel at the same level of the other social classes.
Ok, but how does it work now? The streets of the small village will be packed with people wearing masks, dancing, singing eating and… drinking (photos here) to celebrate the very last day of Carnival all together with street artists, singers, clowns and jugglers, who will brighten up the day. Crazy and blasphemous, Carnavolone Liberato also features, at the end of the day, the burning of a statue representing a famous Italian figure. Many concerts and theatre and circus shows will take place during the day (program here) while food and drink stands will be open from 12 pm.
There is a local train for Poggio Mirteto every 30 minutes after 11 am. The main departing stations from Rome are Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina (timetable here). From Poggio Mirteto station a shuttle in coincidence with the train arrival will bring you straight to the heart of the Carnival celebrations. The last train back to Rome is at 9:40 pm.
This area also features many traditional and religious ceremonies, such as the Corpus Domini in Orvieto.