Rome’s Carnival Is Back To Ancient Glory! Costumes, Horses & Comedy of Art on Feb11-21

Rome’s Carnival Is Back To Ancient Glory! Costumes, Horses & Comedy of Art on Feb11-21

Rugantino, Meo Patacca, Cassandrino, Gaetanaccio, Don Pasquale, general La Rocca. These are all Roman Carnival characters because, yes, Carnival strongly belongs to Rome and the interruption of a few decades can’t erase a thousand-year-old tradition.

The City of Rome has organized for the fourth year in a row the “Carnevale Romano” which will mostly take place downtown between February 11 and the 21st and will hinge on two old features of Roman carnival: horses and the comedy of art.

Last year, with 600,000 people attending, Rome’s Carnival was the most popular equestrian event in Europe.

On the 11th the Opening Parade will leave piazza del Popolo at 4pm to go through Via del Corso (whose name actually originates from the 16th century’s Carnival horse race) with more than a hundred walk-ons, artists, actors, coaches and historical group members.

Other key features of this edition are the theme – voyages and discoveries – and the use of ancient costumes of Rome’s Opera Theatre picked from a stock of 80,000 items.

On the 12th we will have the first horse show.                                                                        

On the 16th Italy’s military cavalry will entertain the public, while on the 18th there is a double equestrian appointment: the local Maremma horse (buttero) pride day and the international show featuring the French dressage champion Alizee Froment, Manolo from Theatre du Centaure and Lorenzo, the Flying Frenchman. This international event will also be repeated on the 19th at 6:15pm.

Carnival-inspired Comedy of Art will delight the crowd from the February 12 to the 21st in Piazza Navona, with the show “Imaginary Lovers”.

Everyday between 3:30pm and 6:30pm street theatre, horses, little shows and costumes parades will take place at the Spanish Steps, in piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Castle S.Angelo and Via del Corso.

Dances will be held in Piazza del Popolo on the 14th, for Valentine’s Day and on the 15th for Singles. On the 19th, 40 crews of Latin American dance will perform in the square.

Carnival’s last day, February 21, will be enlightened by fireworks from the Pincio at 7pm.

Photos of the previous editions here.

An archaeology exhibit and a photo showing will also accompany this event to help trace the roots of this old tradition respectively at the Capitoline Museums and in Piazza del Popolo.

Rome’s Museum in Palazzo Braschi, in Piazza Navona, will host 5 concerts in costume with Baroque and Romantic music.


But Carnival in Rome doesn’t necessarily equate with downtown. In the Tiburtina area (between via Cave di Pietralata and via Casal Bruciato) Rome’s traditional masks and typical Carnival characters will parade from 3pm on February 19.

The most unconventional Carnival of the Rome area is in Poggio Mirteto.