Carnival time in Rome

Rome holds its fifth edition of Carnevale Romano from 2-12 February when the traditional carnival season brings parades, theatre, music and colour to the streets and squares of the capital.

The programme begin at 15.30 on Saturday 2 Feb with a procession on horseback down Via del Corso, involving carriages, theatrical groups and the state police’s equestrian units. The parade is designed to evoke the races of Berber horses that took place along Via del Corso during carnival time until the 19th century.

Most of the carnival and equestrian action over the ten days takes place in Piazza del Popolo but there are also plenty of happenings planned for Piazza Navona as well as kids' events in the city's theatres and Bioparco. Rome’s civic museums are participating in the Yorick Festival, with a series of events dedicated to the joker from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, while the carnival ends with a baroque firework display from the Pincio terrace on 12 Feb at 19.30.

Traditionally carnival is the period of fun and festivities that runs up to the 40-days of fasting and prayer that Christians observe during Lent, which this year begins on 13 February. Last year's event, despite some hitches due to the icy weather conditions, still managed to attract some 800,000 spectators, according to organisers.

For programme details tel. 060608 (09.00-21.00) or see the Carnevale Romano website.