Italy’s Craziest Carnival Fairs And Celebrations

An incredible mosaic of fairs and costumes is part of Italian culture and it’s worth watching

If you are traveling to Italy, there’s a good chance that, at some point, you will find yourself in a local celebration. For example, every city has its own carnival, but folklore is present at any time of the year. This incredible mosaic of traditions is part of Italian culture and it’s worth coming in contact with it. Here are some of the craziest and unusual celebrations you could ever see on a trip.

Ivrea Carnival

Ivrea is a small medieval town in Piedmont, just one hour by train from Turin. Famous all across the world for being the hometown of the stylish typewriters produced by the Olivetti factory, it is also the place where one of the most special carnivals in the world takes place. Indeed, the celebration is literraly a street guerrilla between different gangs which, instead of bullets, shoot oranges. The roots of this event are to be found in the popular uprisings that the city saw against the nobles tyrants who used to rule the territory in the past. Look after your head!

From 3 to 5 March

Sardinian Carnivals

Normally, we associate carnival with fun and colours, but Sardinian carnivals are more similar to actual rituals. The traditional masks are ancient as time itself. Fascinating and mysterious, they leave the spectator astonished. The origins of these fairs lose in the dawn of man, but they were mainly celebrations to get good omen for agricolture and pastoralism. Probably, the most famous costume is the Mamuthones of Mamoiada, whose principal feature is a wooden mask with bells of various sizes on the back. When these characters jump, they create a mystical atmosphere with their sound.

Various dates throughout the year

Festa dei Gigli

This celebration is held in Nola, a small town in the Neaples metropolitan area, birthplace of the famous philosopher Giordano Bruno. Nola has a UNESCO world heritage, the procession of Saint Paolino, protector of the city. Every year, local artisans craft eight multicolored towers, more or less 25 meters tall and 250 kilograms heavy. During the celebrations, more than 100 people hold the structure, dancing and singing in the main square of the city.

From 22 to 23 June

Festa del Soccorso

San Severo is a city in Apulia, and its saint fair is quite crazy. After the procession, a complex system of firecrackers explode in progression. People see it at a close range, with hoods on their heads to protect themselves. The aim of this ritual is the purification and the rebirth of the souls. Then, it is not a surprise that San Severo is twinned with Pamplona.

End of May


Typical of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige, this festival celebrates Krampus, a sort of devil who kidnaps bad children, enemy of Santa Claus. In many city centers, while drinking a vin brulè, you will see them marching and giving you freaking eyes, before trying to beat you with sticks. Better if you start to run!

Beginning of December