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Despite the fact that some historians date the the celebration of the Roman Carnival back 5000 years to Egyptian cults and Sumerian festivals, 2011 marks only year two of the modern celebration.
Regardless of its actual origin, it is a Dionysian spirited festival beyond doubt. Carnival itself is known for mischief and mayhem as celebrants make the most of their last chance to let loose before the start of Lent. Clothed in masks and alcohol in hand, parties can last through the night and pick up again right around dawn.
Note – Video is in Italian:
What sets the Roman Carnival apart is that, despite its distinguished lineage, this is only the second edition of the Roman Carnival in the last thirteen hundred years. The carnival tradition in Tiber (then the name of the city of Rome) abruptly ended in the 8th century and did not recover until this past year. A half million people flooded the modern Rome in 2010 for the first reincarnation. A great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for the celebrations of 2011 (February 26th- March 8th), promises to make this year’s party particularly dramatic, exciting and full of life. The festival extends through a number of streets and squares across the city where you might still be able to find some of the most beautiful apartments in Rome available for rent.
Although the celebrations are spread over almost the entire town many of the most sensational events take place in major urban areas such as the Piazza d’Espana and piazza del Popolo. Shows inspired by Italy’s theatrical heritage, the famous Commedia del’ Arte, are popular during the festival. Nearly all the performers wear character masks whose design dates as far back as the Renaissance. A daily program organized by the Association of Street Artists is the Juggling Festival.
In addition to the carnival festivities, this years celebration will include a renewal of the sister city status between Rome and Venice as well as adding Viareggio and Rio de Janeiro to the list of Rome’s sister cities. If you have any desire to visit these events you’re advised to find your accommodation in Rome soon because if you wait any longer it might miss the whole thing.