Colourful floats and costumes in plenty were in evidence at the Centenary Parade on Sunday (18 February) of the Carnival of Viareggio -- a small town fifty miles from Pisa on the north-west coast of Italy.
GV & LV Crowd round 'Peace' float with broken clocks and clowns
SV Outsize carnival figures
CU & SV Girl on father's shoulders watches as 'Fisherman' float passes
GV & CU 'Witches' float (4 shots)
GV PAN FROM Crowd to 'Shark' float (2 shots)
SV PAN FROM 'Men in bed' to 'Woman holding little men'
SV 'King of fishes' float
GV & CU Bullfighting float (2 shots)
GV PAN Floats pass through crowd
Initials BB/0120 CR/MR/BB/0130
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Background: Colourful floats and costumes in plenty were in evidence at the Centenary Parade on Sunday (18 February) of the Carnival of Viareggio -- a small town fifty miles from Pisa on the north-west coast of Italy.
Sunday was the first day of the Carnival, which continues until 6th March. Floats ranged from the traditional subjects of peace and the arts, to more recent satirical allusions to modern Italian politics.
As the title of the parade suggests, the carnival was first held in 1873, and has since been held annually.
SYNOPSIS: Colourful floats of all shapes and sizes parade each year through the northern Italian town of Viareggio. But the floats--and the crowds--at this year's parade on Sunday were bigger and more lavish than ever, for the parade was the hundredth to pass through these streets.
Smaller members of the crowd still had a chance to see the festivities, despite the crush. This float celebrated fishing--the people of Viareggio's normal activity.
Other floats satirised more topical themes. Politics provided its usual quota of subjects. This was supposed to represent Italian Prime Minister Guilio Andreotti and his cabinet, and was titled 'Words, words, words'. Viareggio's carnival artists have traditionally taken liberties with their rulers--but criticism always takes second place to humour.
The next float combined politics with shoes of Viareggio's fisherman--the sharks represented Treasury officials. The Carnival's subjects haven't changed much over the years--an almost identifical float appeared nearly forty years ago.
Although this is the centenary parade, the history of the Viareggio Carnival goes back far beyond a hundred years. Long before eighteen seventy-three, bullocks drew decorated carts through the streets to show off the wealth and civic loyalty of their owners.
The parade of floats, although the high point, is still only a part of the Viareggio Carnival itself. Festivities will continue until early March.