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»» Best Carnival Festivals in Italy

The best time to experience┬áthe Carnival celebrations in Italy is in the week running up to the “Martedi Grasso” — Fat Tuesday. The best parades, parties and celebrations are held that week, even if in most of festivals, parades are held the Sunday following Martedi Grasso day too.

Below is a list of the major Carnival festivals in Italy (in the brackets the nearest tourist area and attractions).
Venice Carnival– – (Venice)
Viareggio Carnival– – The most spectacular Carnival parades in Italy (Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre)
Foiano Carnival– – (Tuscany, Umbria)
Ivrea Carnival– – Well known for the “orange fights” (Piedmont)
Cento Carnival of Europe– – Twinned with the Rio Carnival (Bologna, Romagna Adriatic Coast)
Verona Carnival– – (Verona, Lake Garda, Venice)
Termini Imerese Carnival– – (Sicily)
Sciacca Carnival– – (Sicily)
AcirealeCarnival– – (Sicily, Etna Volcano)
Putignano Carnival– – One of the oldest carnivals in the world (Bari, Apulia)
Campiglio Asburgica– – Carnival recreating the atmosphere of 19th century European aristocracy staying at this Alpin resort (Dolomites)
Livigno Carnival– – A snowy Carnival held in one of the most known Alpin resorts (Livigno and the closer Alps resorts)
La Sartiglia– – Historic Carnival re-enacting a medieval tournament (Sardinia)
Samugheo Carnival– – (Sardinia).

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»» How To Spend New Year’s Eve in Venice

Piazza San Marco is the ideal venue to celebrate the New Year in Venice, especially for lovers.

“Come and kiss in Venice” is the slogan for Capodanno Love, a love-themed New Year celebration, with more than 70,000 people gathering in the Venice’s main square, waiting for the new year with a light display that gives the illusion of thousands of hearts falling from the sky.

Those who are looking for less crowded venues, could opt for Lido di Venezia, where hundreds of ibernisti swimmers celebrate the New Year after a dip in the sea.

For those who love to celebrate the new year with a concert, Venice offers the traditional New Year’s Eve Concert performed by Venice’s ensemble Musici Veneziani, at the Scuola Grande San Teodoro.
Butlers in period costume will serve wine in between performances.

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»» Things To See in Rome at Christmas: Nativity Scenes

Those who would like to know more about the Christmas tradition of Nativity Scene should consider to have a look at a couple of events taking place in Rome during the Christmas season.

A major exhibition of Nativity Scenes, One Hundred Nativity Scenes, is held annually at Sala del Bramante in Piazza del Popolo in the months of December and January.
It features over 200 pieces by Italian and foreign artists, with designs ranging from classical 17th-century Neapolitan and Sicilian styles to more contemporary ones.

Also, visitors will be able to admire the Presepe di Piazza San Pietro — the representation of Nativity Scene held in Vaticano — under St. Peter’s dome, on the St. Peter Basilica parvis, in front of the obelisk, throughout the Christmas season.

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»» Christmas in Umbria: Things To Do

Living Nativity Scenes are among the major attractions for visitors Umbria has to offer during the Christmas season. Visitors have a chance to experience the flavour of a real Christmas of the past when visiting one of the many historic towns and villages in Umbria featuring living Nativity Scenes.

Gubbio's Christmas Tree

Among the medieval towns hosting a Nativity Scene worth to see, are Corciano (just 10km from Perugia) and Gubbio.
Gubbio, which boasts a wealth of Christmas traditions and historic sites to visit, also has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest Christmas tree in the world.
It is not a real tree, it is a mountain — Mount Ingino — which through Christmas decorations takes the shape of a Christmas tree (800-metre high, 400-metre wide tree). There are 12 kilometres of extensive Christmas decorations illuminating all the way running from the center of the town to up the slopes of Mount Ingino.

Those who love good music,should consider a visit to Orvieto.
This historic hill town, one of the most visited historic centers in Umbria, offers a major jazz festival, Umbria Jazz Winter, from Dec 28 through Jan 1st.
Umbria Jazz Winter is the sister event of Perugia’s summer jazz festival. Visitors can enjoy afternoon and evening concerts, jazz lunches and dinners and many more jazz events also including a New Year’s Day ceremonial mass in the cathedral featuring a gospel choir.

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»» Christmas Markets in Rome: Piazza Navona

One of the most spectacular squares in Rome, Piazza Navona, hosts the biggest and most traditional Christmas Market of the Eternal City.

Rome-Piazza Navona

The stalls featuing all the local Christmas delicacies, the nativity scenes and many various events taking place in and around the square during the festivities, offer the best chance to experience the flavour of Christmas in Rome.

In Piazza Navona, on January 6 — the last day of the Xmas festivities — kids can meet the Befana, the old woman who comes to deliver them gifts.

When: from early December through January 6 (annual)
Where: Roma – Piazza Navona

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