February in Italy means that almost every city big or little is invaded with masks, colors, sweets and lights bringing a lot of excitement and a unique atmosphere all around:  it’s Carnival!

Carnival is an ancient tradition occurring the immediate period before Lent and reaches its peak on Giovedì Grasso (Fat Thursday) and Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), the last Thursday and Tuesday before Lent.

In Italy, it is celebrated in many different ways, but usually involves traditional celebrations, where everyone wears a costume or a mask, and celebrates in the streets with festive parades, allegoric floats, paper confetti and paper streamers and delicious sweet treats such as Chiacchiere or Bugie, the delicious local fritters associated with Carnival.

Everybody knows about the most popular Carnival in Italy being the Carnival of Venice, but the Italian lakes are no different and every year the small villages dotted around the lakes put on their shows!

Held in the Piedmontese town of Ivrea (at 40mins away from Turin), the world-famous Carnival of Ivrea stems from ancient neighborhood celebrations, and it’s especially famous for the food fight that takes place in town squares and main streets, with oranges being the weapon, the traditional Battle of the Oranges, representing an allegory of the struggle for freedom.

Together with all the historical events in the Carnival at Ivrea, the orange battle constitutes an incredible cultural and goliardic heritage, making the Carnival one of the most important on the national and international scene, certainly worth a visit!

carnevale schignano

Moving on to Lake Como, another traditional Carnival is rappresented by the Carnival of Schignano, a small village in the Valle d’Intelvi, that displays two opposites: The Fair and The Ugly. For this occasion local sculptors create splendid wooden masks and the whole community comes together to celebrate their holiday and help keep the tradition and transmittance of the ritual alive

February is considered low season and accommodation at Lake Como are easy to find and are much affordable.

Visit Lake Como and discover Italian traditions!