Art & CultureArt & Culture

4 Carnival events not to be missed in Emilia-Romagna

by /// January 30, 2023
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes



The Carnival celebration in Emilia-Romagna, with its masked parties, dances, colorful floats parades, and tasty fried desserts, renews itself every year with the festive cry of “anything goes!” in many of the splendid regional locations.

Below we have selected 4 traditional Carnival events that will allow you and your families to enjoy splendid moments of hilarity and joy in an authentic goliardic spirit!

Carnival on the water of Comacchio (FE)

If you have never seen it, you don’t know what you’ve missed: a unique Carnival with allegorical boats (instead of floats) which from the monumental Trepponti bridge parade along the canals of the picturesque town of Comacchio, in the Po Delta.

The Carnival on the water of Comacchio, with free entrance, returns this year on the 2 central Sundays of February, 12th and 19th of February 2023; as every year, the program is very rich, with shows and dances in the streets of the historic center, but the highlight of the event is undoubtedly the parade of masked groups and the performance of dance companies to the rhythm of engaging music, on the scenographic Trepponti bridge.


Carnival on the water of Comacchio 2019 via Facebook
Carnival on the water of Comacchio 2019 via Facebook

Cento Carnival of Europe (FE)

From February 5th to March 5th 2023, the Carnival of Cento returns for five Sundays. It is one of the oldest in the region: there are references to it even in some frescoes by the famous local painter Guercino, dated 1615.

The Cento Carnival, which enjoys international fame since the 90s thanks to its twinning with the famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival, is famous for its floats up to 20 mt high, which are made during the year by six local carnival associations.
During the Carnival, the associations parade in the streets of the town, involving the public in a colorful and festive atmosphere, full of shows and surprises.

On the central stage of Piazza Guercino, moreover, there is continuous entertainment with musical groups, famous testimonials, and the traditional participation of the group of Brazilian dancers and percussionists, to seal the historic twinning between the two carnivals.

On Sunday March 5th, the last day of the Carnival, two of the most exciting moments of the whole event will be held: the proclamation of the winner float of the 2023 edition and the Testament and Burning of Tasi, the pyre of the typical local mask with fireworks in the Piazzale della Rocca.


Cento Carnevale d'Europa 2022
Cento Carnevale d’Europa 2022

Historic Carnival of San Giovanni in Persiceto (BO)

Among the oldest and most famous Carnivals in the Bologna area, the Historic Carnival of San Giovanni in Persiceto takes place on Sunday 12th and Sunday 19th of February 2023 under the irreverent aegis of its typical mask, the rough but witty peasant Bertoldo, a character born from the pen by Giulio Cesare Croce in 1600.

The real uniqueness of this Carnival is the “spillo“, the transformation: during the first Sunday of Carnival the allegorical floats parade through the center and, once they reach the central square, the colorful structures are suddenly transformed, revealing a hidden allegorical meaning.
No one, apart from the builders, knows what will happen as the floats are entirely made by the local carnival companies which in the months preceding the event work with tireless assiduity and absolute secrecy on the theme and the features of their creations.

During the second Sunday of the Carnival, the floats are awarded by a jury, with a cloth depicting Bertoldo and Bertoldino with the donkey.


Carnevale di San Giovanni in Persiceto 2022
Carnevale di San Giovanni in Persiceto 2022

Castlein Carnival of Castelnovo di Sotto (RE)

Every Sunday afternoon in February, from 5 to 26 February 2023 in the lowlands of Reggio Emilia, the historic Carnival of Castelnovo di Sotto is back, the most ancient and traditional Carnival in the province of Reggio Emilia, characterized by the parades of giant floats accompanied by masked groups, musical performances, sporting events and gastronomic moments.

The King of the Castelnovo di Sotto Carnival, which gives the event its name, is Castlein, the traditional local mask with the hat on his ears, the big farmer’s shoes, and the high-waist trousers.


Carnevale Al Castlein 2020
Carnevale Al Castlein 2020


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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