Carnival in Rome is the weekend before Ash Wednesday. It s celebrated in squares, shopping centers and in some places in the surrounding area.
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Rome Caput Mundi! Not only the Julian and Gregorian calendars come from Rome. In 2018, the great major of Rome was able to change the date of the Chinese New Year. As if we were celebrating New Year on December 28th, she was able to anticipate the date of the new moon. Also Julius Caesar failed to do this. If this wasn’t a carnival joke! And the honorable administration of the capital under the then mayor Virginia Raggi spared to organize the carnival, because the Chinese New Year was celebrated on the Saturday of the carnival. Incidentally, it was the last Chinese New Year celebrated in Piazza del Popolo.
It is not yet known if the traditional big parade for the carnival will be held again under the new city administration.
Carnival in Rome · Dates
The Rome Carnival is now primarily a festival for children. The children celebrate the carnival in schools, department stores and on the streets. The tradition of the Carnival in Rome has largely been lost. The center of Rome is therefore largely a carnival-free zone. Some citizens’ initiatives organize parades in some city districts, including Ostia Lido.
From Thursday to Shrove Tuesday you may find some masks around Piazza Navona and Via del Corso. Typical characters are “Rugantino”, an arrogant rascal from Trastevere with old trousers and neckerchief, “Cassandrino”, a bona fide nobleman, “Meo Patacca”, a popular boy, and the benefactor Don Pasquale. There are also figures from Naples such as Pulcinella, Arlecchino, Pantalone and others.
Which events can take place this year for the carnival in Rome, will be decided in the short term.
Feb. 19 Carnival at Bioparco
Carnival at Bioparco di Roma is dedicated to the theme of camouflage and adaptations. From 10:30 to 15:00 you can participate in the animated path “The clothes of the animals”, an exciting guided tour between camouflage liveries to hide, long and colorful feathers to attract females and bright colors to communicate danger.
The trail will touch on giraffes, mandrills, zebras, Caucasian leopards, Sumatran tigers and the snowy owl.
Carnival at Ronciglione
There is a lot going on in the carnival in Ronciglione!
80 kilometers north of Rome lies the picturesque town of Ronciglione below the volcanic lake Lago di Vico in the province of Viterbo. The tradition of carnival here dates back to the 16th century, making it one of the oldest in central Italy. Carnival is celebrated here extensively on the three weekends before Ash Wednesday and during the last week of Carnival. Together with Viareggio and Venice, Ronciglione is one of the strongholds of the Italian carnival.
Sunday 29 January, 5 and 19 February (admission 7.50 €, free up to 16 years): 11:00 Carnival of the street artists – 11:30 entertaining performance of the “Padiglione delle Meraviglie” 12:00 opening of the stalls with typical and gastronomic products 15:00 tour of the town band with majorettes 15:30 historical parade of the Hussars 16:00 great gala parade with masks, folklore groups and floats. Followed by traditional dance “Saltarello di Carnevale” with the music band
16 and 18 February big carnival program from 14:30 and from 17:00 gastronomic program
20 February Monday of the red noses from 14:30
21 February big program from 14:30 with death of King Carnival and opening of his will at 18:30
How to get to Ronciglione: By regional Cotral bus from Saxa Rubra (4 zones) or by car on Via Cassia bis
14:00 Piazzale Flaminio
Metro A Flaminio Event on Facebook
27.2. La Tarantella del Carnevale Festival at the Auditorium Parco della Musica
Tram 2 Apollodoro – Flaminia/Reni, Viale Pietro De Courbertin
12.+19.2. Carnival at Genzano
In the wine villages of the Castelli Romani the tradition of the carnival is maintained.
How to get to Genzano: by regional Cotral bus from Metro A Anagnina (3 zones), by car on via Appia.
Genzano, pedestrian area 9:00 – 19:00 Event on Facebook
Carnival in Rome · Costumes
Where can you find costumes for Carnival in Rome? Where can you get professional makeup? Here is some information and tips.
Simple masks and costumes can be found in souvenir stores in the center and in supermarkets and shopping centers.
Sophisticated costumes can be found at
Berte on Viale dei Colli Portuensi, 453/455, with bus 31, 33 stop Giandiglio
Roma in Maschera on Via Eugenio Barsanti, 5 near Piazzale Radio below Trastevere station, with tram 3, 8 stop Trastevere, Trastevere train station
Estro Costumi in Trastevere, Via Emilio Morosini, 10 with tram 3, 8 stopTras tevere/Min. p. istruzione
Bliz in the south of Rome southeast of Via Cristoforo Colombo and, in the same area
Pelatelli in via Aristide Leonori, 26-28. Directions for Bliz and Pelatelli: bus 30, 714 stop Colombo/Accademia Agiati
Arabesque in via al Sesto Miglio 16, in the north of Rome in the zone Cassia / Tomba di Nerone: bus 201/301 stop Cassia / Sesto Miglio
There are also some costume rentals.
You can get professional make-up at Studio 13 in Piazza Cavour 13. Studio 13 is a make-up center and also organizes courses. How to get there: Bus 30, 70, 81, 87, 280, 301, 492, 913
Carnival in Rome · History
Orgiastic festivals with public entertainment, dances and masks were already held in ancient Rome. It were the Saturnalia that were celebrated from December 23rd to 30th.
From the 10th century, there were carnival festivals on the hill Monte Testaccio, which is made up of potsherds. These festivals referred to the Saturnalia and wanted to revive the tradition. At the request of Pope Paul II, the celebrations were moved to today’s Via del Corso. The highlight was the Berber horse race, which became a major attraction. Nobles, artists and travelers came to Rome to witness the race.
In 1874 the race was abolished by King Victor Emmanuel II after a boy was overrun and died.
Since then there have only been smaller carnival events in Rome.