Carnival in Rome 2021 · Dates · Characters · History

Karneval in Rom Jan Miel Piazza Colonna Carnival in Rome Carnevale a Roma

The Carnival in Rome starts on Thursday February 11th 2021 and goes until Tuesday February 16th. Mardi Gras is called “martedì grasso” in Rome. Find out here what you can experience at the Carnival in Rome.

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 honorary administration of the capital has spared the need to organize the carnival, since the Chinese New Year was anticipated to the Saturday of the carnival. Incidentally, it was the last Chinese New Year celebrated in Piazza del Popolo. The traditional big parade for the carnival no longer takes place under the current poor city administration.

This year, our great city administration would have had another chance to get the Chinese community to finance the carnival celebrations, as New Years and Carnival coincide again. Unfortunately, this year is not due to the problems related to the coronavirus.

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.


Unfortunately, no events can take place during the Carnival in Rome this year.

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.