The Carnival of Viareggio!

The idea of celebrating the Carnival in Viareggio blossomed in 1837 among the young well-to-do of the city who decided to start an open-air celebration with a parade of floats. It was on Mardì Gras of that same year that the Viareggio Carnival, as it is known today, was born and it is from then on that the city turned into a fantastic environment, permeated with joy, parties and fun. Every year many colourful floats parade in the centre of the city passing among excited people who are awaiting for this important event. In 1921, after World War I - that had previously stopped the Carnival - the event flourished again, even more splendid and grandiose than before with the coloured floats - real monuments and artworks - parading along the streets and on the beach during those days. The Viareggio Carnival - called "Carnival of Italy and Europe" starting from 2001 - every year attracts lots of visitors from all over the world, people who, delighted of the happy and amusing atmosphere that characterizes the city in every time of the year, come here to see the coloured floats and typical masks' magnificence. The Carnival's symbol is the "Burlamacco", a typical mask created in 1930 by Umberto Bonetti, painter who many times applied his artistic genius to the creation of the Carnival's posters. The Burlamacco  is one of the most famous masks of the world and it has a place today, among the Italian carnival figures in Rome at the Folklore and Tradition museum and is on exhibition in Paris at the Musée de l'Homme. But, thanks to the ability of floats' constructors, worldwide aknowledged as "papier-maché wizards", also typical masks coming from foreign countries were created on the occasion of the Viareggio Carnival: just think about the Pierrot, which was the first main mask on a float able to move its head and eyes, in 1923. On the other hand, today the floats' protagonists are just characters taken by the show business and politic world, dressed and presented as unique, funny parodies.
In addition, the "Cittadella del Carnevale" (Carnival Town) was inaugurated in 2001. Located in the plane of Viareggio the Carnival Town represents the celebration's fulcrum. The most important events connected to the Carnival take place here and the curiousest visitors can enter the papier-maché wizard workshops where floats' craftsmen are continuously engaged in the realization of their own creations. During Carnival time you will also find some craftsmen running courses about papier maché work; this is an interesting initiative addressed to people who wish to try an approach towards this singular kind of art.

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Viareggio Literary Award

It is a literary prize started in Viareggio in 1929 and conceived by three young friends, Alberto Colantuoni, Carlo Salsa and Leonida Repaci who directed this event until 1935. The firts purpose of the prize was that of awarding every year the best novel, and in this way it contributed to make famous in the past some of the most important 20th century names of the Italian literature, such as Giuseppe Ungaretti, Umberto Saba, Pablo Neruda (who received the very first International Viareggio Versilia Prize) and Moravia. Starting from 1975 this event was managed by the municipality of Viareggio that took off all financial burdens related to it in exchange for prestige coming from such important manifestation. That same year the international nature of the event was confirmed and it was finally called "International Viareggio Versilia Prize".
During the years, several famous artists contributed to the prize's organization by taking care about set and set design. Among them it's important to remember the name of Umberto Bonetti, well famous floats' artist, Burlamacco's father, who for many years took care of the Viareggio Prize's official image with his wonderful posters.
In 2007 the Viareggio Prize was divided in three parts by adding to the original Viareggio Literary Prize - that awards competitors' works - and to the International Viareggio Versilia Prize, a third contest called Viareggio Tobino Literary Prize (created in honour of Mario Tobino) for awarding the "Author of the Year".

Festival Puccini Torre del Lago

The Puccini Festival is a summer Music Festival that takes place every year in Torre del Lago, a small town near Viareggio. The Festival started in 1930 arised by Puccini's desire personally expressed in a letter sent to Giovacchino Forzano who, deeply stunned after the musician's words, decided to realized such idea after the death of the master. So on August 24th 1930 in a temporary theatre realized as a pile-dwelling on the lake, Forzano directed together with Mascagni the Bohème performed by a traveling opera company. The following year one of the most important Opera Festival of the world came to life and about 30 years later the Festival was finally moved inside a theatre built on the lake shore. But, it was in 2008 - on the occasion of the 150° anniversary of Puccini's birth - that the Festival Puccini was revalued and the extraordinary “New Great open-air Theatre” was constructed, a big amphitheatre with a capacity of 3370 spectators. In 2004 the Festival was connected to a special project in order to underline its feature of accurate Musical and Artistic event: “Scolpire l'Opera”, an international happening that combines great contemporary artists' painting and sculpture with music by Giacomo Puccini.
This is a festival that during the years saw the participation of the most important music representatives and gave life to Giacomo Puccini's extraordinary works which represent the most beautiful operas ever composed, such as the Tosca, the Bohème and the Rondine. So,the Festival represents a very awaited event both for music lovers and music specialists coming from all over the world.

La Versiliana Festival

30 years ago in Marina di Pietrasanta - small town in Versilia - the Versiliana Festival was started. This is a festival taking place in summertime and it inherits its name by "La Versiliana" park, a park of about a million square meters with a wonderful villa inside where Gabriele D'Annunzio lived in the past. This special cultural festival is performed just in the surroundings of the villa, and it has gained international acknowledgement.
The festival has a rich program of cultural events (music, dance, cabaret, cinema and poetry) that attract lots of Italian and foreign tourists and local people. The Versiliana Festival is the perfect place where art and nature mix together creating a very suggestive atmosphere, and it is the ideal place for spending your summer nights in Versilia.

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