Acireale carnival

  • Carnevale
  • Catania

02/20/2020 - 02/25/2020

Considered as "the most beautiful in Sicily", the Carnival that takes place in the beautiful Baroque city of Acireale, in the province of Catania, attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year from Italy and abroad.

Recognized as one of the most renowned international events since 1948, it has very ancient origins: the first evidence dates back to 1594 and describes a very participated popular event. The sources also tell us that in the seventeenth century the Sicilian mask par excellence, "Peppe Nappa", a gloomy servant dressed in blue, made his first appearance. People enjoyed playing true and own battles in which people threw citrus fruits towards each other, which was also soon banned due to damage caused to people and property. 

Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there were other masks: the "abbatazzo", a popular poet who was ironic about the clerical class, improvising hilarious rhymes on the streets and in the squares; "Lu baruni" (the baron) who made fun of the nobility; the "manti", the most successful figures in the tradition of the Acese carnival, covered by large cloaks of black silk with many frills. Compared to the Venetian "bautta", the "manti" were later replaced by the "domino", a completely black mask that concealed the identity of the wearer, but with less rich garments. 

Over the centuries, the organization of the Acireale Carnival has become increasingly accurate: in the nineteenth century it was introduced the "cassariata", a parade of noble carriages pulled by horses, from which multicolored candies were thrown, and funny popular games, like the maypole, the tug of war and the race with sacks. From 1880 masks and allegorical floats drawn by oxen have appeared, surrounded by characters and satirical groups in movement, made by skilled local artisans, who already used the technique of papier-mâché to create several decorations. In the thirties of the twentieth century the flowered cars entered the scene, the first decorated cars that recalled the role played by coaches during the nineteenth century.

And so, the evocative streets and squares of the historic center of Acireale, have become the ideal setting for this traditional event of great tourist attraction and fun atmospheres, which takes place both in February and during the first week of August

Organized by the Acireale Carnival Foundation since 2011 , the celebrations in honor of King Burlone in the Acese town reach their peak with the parades of the allegorical and grotesque floats, created with extraordinary creative flair by local papier-mache craftsmen, champions of satire and masters in combining modern technology with a centuries-old tradition. The allegorical floats, which can reach fifteen meters in height and twenty in length, are followed by very special flowered floats, with subjects entirely made up of tens of thousands of flowers, animated in the same way as the allegorical floats and illuminated by thousands of light bulbs during night parades.

The Carnival ends with the awarding of the most beautiful floats.

From 2015, during the last weekend of April, there is also the "Flower Festival" which enhances the parade of flowered carts, with the aim of expanding the city's tourist offer in the springtime.