all the most important moments in the history of the Viareggio Carnival
The first parade of festively decorated carriages in the historic Via Regia, the heart of the old town, dates back to 1873, specifically February 25, Mardi Gras day. The program, published in a manifesto of “La Società del Carnevale,” dated February 8, 1873 (preserved in the Lucca State Archives), also included vigils at the Pacini Theater.
From that first nucleus developed the Viareggio Carnival as it is known today: a spectacular event whose fame grew as the size of the floats grew
Mardi Gras on Regia Street
With a witty manifesto notarized by Notary Chiassone, the history of the Viareggio Carnival begins. The jury, composed of Messrs. Imparziale, Intendente and Buongusto, would distribute an immense number of bottles of wine to the best masquerade after the Mardi Gras parade. A street parade that was immediately greeted with enthusiasm by the citizenry.
The parade arrives on the Viali a Mare.
The waterfront already embellished by the Art Nouveau wooden structures of stores and bathing establishments welcomes the Carnival parade for the first time.
The music of Carnival.
Icilio Sadun composes the first song for Carnival, to words by Lelio Maffei. “Il Carnevale a Viareggio” will later become the anthem of the event. In addition, on the winning float, “Le nozze di Tonin di Burio alla corte del Pinaccio” by Giuseppe Giorgi, a group of musicians goes up.
The first edition of the magazine Viareggio in Maschera is also published in this year.
The paper revolution
Simple gears create movements that give life to the construction dedicated to the Pierrot mask: this is the first moving wagon.
The paper revolution
Artist Antonio D’Arliano perfects the cast paper technique to make lighter and larger masks. Also, Guglielmo Lippi Francesconi signs the first poster for Carnival.
Burlamacco and Ondina
Viareggio artist Uberto Bonetti designs Burlamacco, thought of as the last mask of the Commedia dell’Arte. Together with Ondina, symbol of summer, Burlamacco is the protagonist of the poster for the 1931 Carnival.
Rebirth after the war
After the last Carnival in 1940, Viareggio returns to organizing the event: from destruction is reborn creativity. Then in 1948 the wooden sheds on Cairoli Street will be built.
Carnival on TV
RAI’s first live national outdoor telecast is dedicated to the Viareggio Carnival Masked Parade. The 1958 telecast will later be broadcast in Eurovision.
The world’s greats get on the float
Political satire has always been part of the themes addressed by Carnival: in “Carnival at the Top,” Silvano Avanzini brings the world leaders of the time on the float: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, French President Charles de Gaulle, and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
The first hundred years
The Viareggio Carnival turns a century old and is celebrated with a memorable edition. “War and Peace” by Arnaldo Galli was the out-of-competition float dedicated to peace and a symbol of the creative genius of all the Carnival masters.
The Viareggio National Lottery combined with the first category float competition is born.
In 1999 the foundation stone of the Carnival Citadel, designed by architect Francesco Tomassi, is laid, with construction ending on September 26, 2001.
Today, the Viareggio Carnival is a major event of art, tradition, entertainment, and culture that captivates audiences from all over the world. The Viareggio Carnival fills an entire month of daytime and nighttime festivities, with parades of floats, neighborhood festivals, vigils, and reviews.