Friday, February 18, 2011

Carnevale in Northern Lazio

How many of my former students at Rome's international schools remember how  mid-winter  doldrums were broken up by "snow week" or "art week"?  
Here in Northern Lazio, formerly the Papal States,  winter is enlivened with Carnevale festivitiesan  important  part of the annual cycle of festivals.  Not only kids, but also adults  need an  excuse to  break down barriers with noisy costume parades, masked balls and general merriment.
Venetian style Carnival masks  seen at  Libreria del Teatro, Viterbo

At Ronciglione, 50 kms. from Rome,  there are several weeks of mid-winter madness where one can  relive the excitement-including riderless horse races-that Charles Dickens described in his 1846 description of the  Roman carnival season. (update for  p. 116  in  my latest book "Etruria".)  

Carnival  parade in Vetralla 

Italy's  best known carnivals include the recently revived  (and expensive!) masked balls of Venice and the famous Viareggio carnival parade with  giant floats  that are the envy of Rio's carnival. 
This year you can  enjoy a Venetian-style  Ballo in Maschera   in the  glamorous mirrored saloni of Palazzo Monaldeschi close to Viterbo

  For  60 euro Palazzo Monaldeschi  and Opera Extravaganza  offer  dinner, dance and a lively opera show  that was the high light of a recent visit by international tour operators. 

  Save the date-Saturday, March 5th-and contact Susanna at  for  information and bookings. 


  1. We hope there are still seats available for the ball. It looks like a lot of fun.

    PS: It was this or half of a new Callaway driver! (LOL)

  2. Nick, there are surely places still...Italians are notorious for never booking until the last minute, which gives the organizers a nervous breakdown...
    We'll probably come with a couple of friends too.

  3. Great! Hope to see you there! What's the best way to come from Sorianno?

  4. maryjane...I think I am staying in Viterbo alone this time..if I book can I tag along with you...and do I need full costume or just a mask?

  5. I googled Palazzo Monaldeschi and it looks like it is in Lubriano, above Bagnoregio correct? I'm forgetting my driving distances. Would that be around an hour's drive from Sorianno or longer?

  6. An hour would be perfect...From the Palazzo you get the best view of Civita di Bagnoregio, super famous thanks to Rick Steves. Check the Palazzo's website for directions.