Viareggio carnival returns after COVID delay
The almost 150-year-old Viareggio Carnival is one of Italy's most popular carnivals, famous for its giant allegorical and satirical floats that depict societal issues. For the first time in history, the 2021 edition (that was to be held in February) was postponed due to COVID-19. This year the COVID pandemic is one of the central themes, along with climate change and social injustice in the US. A haunting Black Statue of Liberty dressed in chains makes its way down the street, towering over crowds. Another float depicts the Amazon indigenous people and their efforts to curb deforestation. The carnival has a long history. It dates back to 1873, when it was created in defiance and mockery towards the noblemen of Lucca, a town near Viareggio. It takes months of work to design and build the floats. They are made in the hangars of 'La Cittadella del Carnevale' ('Carnival Citadel' in English), on the outskirts of Viareggio. Dozens of men and women spend weeks painting, shaping and crafting each individual sculpture. The gigantic papier-mâché allegorical floats will be parading on 5 different days along the promenade of Viareggio, on the 18th, 26th September, 2nd, 3rd and 9th October. These floats compete against each other: the winner will be announced on the last day of the parade. Originally a local event, before the pandemic the carnival attracted around 60,000 people each day from all across the world. This year only 5,000 seated people for each day will have the chance to watch the parade due to COVID-19 safety measures.