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If you’re planning to go to Italy in February or March this year, don’t forget to check out the wonderful Carnevale celebrations held in many cities.

This year Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras (in Italian: Martedì Grasso) will be on March 8th. This is usually the peak of the celebration and the last day of Carnival, although in the areas that follow the Ambrosian rite of Milan, Carnival ends four days later.

Carnival is a very old tradition that originates from the festivities that used to be celebrated in ancient Rome before the arrival of spring.

It is a time of parties, parades, masked balls, jugglers, magicians, costumes, masks, singing, and dancing. Social rules are broken and, as the saying goes, “during Carnival anything goes” (“A Carnevale ogni scherzo vale!”).

Carnival is celebrated throughout Italy and every city, town, and village has its own traditions. Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea, and many other places have unique and elaborate celebrations that are world-famous.

Some of the well known masks and costumes that have become the symbol of Carnival, date back to the “Commedia dell’Arte”. This is a comic form of street theater that developed in Italy in the 15th century which featured familiar characters each renowned for its distinctive mask and characterization. These characters are known as “stock characters”.

Learn more about Carnevale and its masks and traditions with “Carnevale Italiano – Italian Carnival”, a parallel-text book (in Italian and English) that will tell you where the most famous shows and parades are – what the traditional costumes look like – how to make a delicious Carnival treat easily at home – There is a map of Italy that highlights the locations mentioned in the book – five pages of language activities – many colorful illustrations .

The Italian language level of the book is intermediate and there are also several pages with large print suitable for young readers.

Are you ready to celebrate?

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