Rome celebrates Carnevale

Rome celebrates traditional carnival season with parades and fireworks.

The ninth edition of Carnevale Romano, Rome's traditional carnival season, includes parades, readings, live music and fireworks, taking place in the city centre from 25 to 28 February.

The central theme of the four-day festival is Le donne di Roma, with a special focus on Beatrice Cenci – on the 440th anniversary of her birth; Artemisia Gentileschi, currently subject of a major exhibition at Palazzo Braschi; and Queen Christina of Sweden who moved to Rome in 1654 after abdicating the Swedish throne.

A highlight of Rome's Carnevale is the horse-drawn parade between Via del Corso and Piazza del Popolo at 16.30 on 25 February. Involving dozens of horses and carriages, the parade evokes the Berber horse race that was historically the most important event of the Roman carnival until 1874 when it was abolished by King Victor Emmanuel II due to the death of a spectator.

carnevale rome

Other carnival events include a jazz concert by young musicians in Piazza del Campidoglio at midday on 25 February; a fireworks display at Piazza del Popolo at 19.00 on 25 February; ancient music with readings on the Roman carnival theme at Palazzo Braschi at 16.30 on 26 February; and a conference-performance entitled Il Carnevale e le donne di Roma at the Bibiloteca Angelica at 18.00 on 28 February.

Traditionally carnival is the period of fun and festivities preceding the 40 days of fasting and prayer that Christians observe during Lent, which begins this year on 1 March, with Ash Wednesday, and ends with Easter Sunday on 16 March.

Traditional carnevale foods to enjoy while walking around Rome's confetti-strewn streets include frappe and castagnole, available from biscuit bakeries such as the celebrated Biscottificio Innocenti in Trastevere.

For full carnival event programme see city website.