Tuscan Feeling Blog

Carnival in Tuscany

Carnival in Florence

Carnival in Florence

Carnival in Tuscany – In Florence, as in the rest of Italy, it is tradition for carnival to throw small pieces of colored paper in the air, called ‘coriandoli’.

Some might ask: how did the custom, among children and young people, to launch ‘coriandoli’ for Carnival?

The story starts from afar, at least from the Middle Ages when, in place of the innocuous little pieces of colored paper, the young people threw themselves against the most dangerous rocks. Many decades passed but the problem remained current, so much so that even Girolamo Savonarola had to deal with it, to invite “the children to renounce them to wait rather than to devout practices”.

Carnival in Florence

Carnival in Florence

With the Renaissance things changed: the hard stones were replaced by the more ductile flask, which was nothing but a set of rags held tight by a rope. The game consisted of throwing it against it with violence and so much the better if it was weighed down by the water and the mota of the road.

To these raids, which began after the Epiphany and ended at Lent, also took part the scions of noble families and it seems that during the Carnival of 1534 there were just some balls tossed in error, to put tares among the families of the Medici and the Strozzi.

Carnival in Florence

Carnival in Florence

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Today the stones and the balls have been replaced by colored confetti and in the parades of splendid allegorical floats that, with their papier-mâché figures, often bring to the saloon characters and events of the moment.

Leaving aside the famous and eminent carnivals of Viareggio, born in 1873, of that of Foiano della Chiana, or Bibbiena, in Tuscany there are others, perhaps considered minor, which deserve to be discovered by travelers from around the world.

Among all, the Carnival of Santa Croce, born in 1928 and has arrived to this day in all its splendor.

Carnival in Tuscany

Carnival in Tuscany

The Carnival of Castiglion Fibocchi is one of the oldest in Tuscany. In the document you can read that “… in Castellion de filiis Bochi the bifolchi and the gentlemen celebrate together the feast of carnasciale …”, thus demonstrating the true spirit of the carnival which is that, among other things, to unite people of every social class.

In Asciano, in the province of Siena, the various days of the carnival revolve around the figure of King Meio who, on the last day, reads a sort of testament in which the chronicle of the most recent local events is presented in a satirical key.

In the small fraction of Sant’Ippolito, in the town of Vernio, the morning of Saturday following Ash Wednesday, the young people of the area move from street to street, disguised in the most imaginative ways with junk found at home, asking for contributions for afternoon festivities.

Carnival in Tuscany

Carnival in Tuscany

Which consist of a procession that parades through the town and meets in the main square where, in a huge pot, cooks the pasta seasoned with the tuna-based sauce that will be distributed to everyone present. The following day, in the provincial capital, the “Festa della polenta” has been held for some decades in memory of a historical event of the sixteenth century and also in memory of distant periods of famine, when the chestnut and all that derived from it was perhaps the only nourishment for many Apennine populations.

Carnival in Tuscany

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Carnival in Tuscany

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