“The float workshops transform the urban park into a carnival, a testament to the great importance of arts and crafts. The carnival city comes alive as a structure of great scenic and artistic value.”
Dr. Ing. Arch. Francesco Tomassi
The Viareggio Carnival Citadel, inaugurated on December 15th, 2001, is the largest and most important Italian center dedicated to masks. In terms of size, space, and services, there are no other large centers dedicated to the art of Carnival.
Inside the Citadel we can find:
The artists’ hangars where the floats are built
The Viareggio Carnival Museum
The Espace Gilbert
The historical archive
Educational papier-mâché workshops
The Citadel Bistrot
The headquarters of the Carnival Foundation
The ensemble of 16 sheds and other buildings is arranged around the square. The elliptical shape of the square best highlights the central character of this space, an ideal setting for events, parties, and performances.
But, if the square is the place for parties, the outer perimeter street, the artists’ street, is the place for meetings between visitors and the artisans at work, who’s studios are located on the street.
Access to the Citadel
The access to the Citadel is free of charge throughout the year. However, a ticket must be purchased to visit the museum spaces and participate in educational activities in the workshops.
Back in the day, floats were crafted in various parts of the city. Any place was good for erecting a palisade, some cloth, and braving the harsh winter weather to mold clay, plaster, and paper. In 1948, the barracks on Cairoli Street were built and then destroyed in a terrible fire in the summer of 1960. In record time, the hangars on Marco Polo Street were built, which have guarded the Carnival for forty years now.
On September 26th, 2001, the buildings were moved to the new Citadel.