The carnival of Acireale, defined The most beautiful Carnival of Sicily and the third of Italy, is one of the oldest in the island, and takes place every year in the city of Acireale. Among its features there is the parade of allegorical floats and infiorati.
The parade of allegorical-grotesque floats in papier-mâché takes place every year in February, works finely worked, which give their show through thousands of light bulbs and lights, spectacular movements and scenography in continuous evolution during the performances. They are the only wagons in the world to use similar systems of lights and mechanical and hydraulic movements.
The flowered carts instead parade in the manifestation of the “Carnival of flowers” (until 2019 “Flower Festival”) that takes place every year in April. These works have the characteristic, similar to that of several carnivals on the Côte d’Azur and Liguria, to show subjects created entirely with (real) flowers arranged side by side. They are also equipped with mechanical movements and lights.
The demonstration today
The carnival today takes place in the baroque scenery of the historic center, has its center in the magnificent Piazza Duomo. He sees the crowd actively participate in the event, which is dragged by the general cheerful and euphoric atmosphere. Twinned with the Carnival of Viareggio there is also the participation of some costumes of the Venice Carnival.
In 2017, the English newspaper The Guardian, 2017/01/23, includes the Acireale Carnival among the 10 most beautiful in Europe:
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The traditional program includes the parade of papier-mâché carriages on Thursdays, Sundays and Mardi Gras, while the flowered carts parade on Mondays and Tuesdays. For some years, however, the program has changed, the allegorical floats also parade on the two previous Sundays and the last Saturday, the flowering machines parade every day from the last Saturday to Shrove Tuesday. The carri infiorati, however, as we said, parade in a special event (called, precisely, Carnival of flowers) held in April. The event closes anyway on the evening of Shrove Tuesday with the awards and the traditional fireworks with which you want to burn the King Carnival. The peculiar characteristics of the event are:
They are large buildings in papier-mâché, more precisely in Roman cardboard, which deal with subjects of satire and social customs. They are characterized not only by the subject, but also by the color, but above all by the combined effects of lights and movements of some parts that are usually activated as soon as they arrive in Piazza Duomo, Piazza Address, Villetta Garibaldi and Porta Gusmana. The tankers work on construction sites, between design and construction for several months. For about 30 years, a special covered area has been dedicated to the construction of the wagons, where the various construction sites are located.
Paper mache and Roman cardboard
The allegorical grotesque wagons of the acesi carristi masters are made of Roman cardboard. The difference between papier-mâché and Roman cardboard is the processing techniques, which respond to different needs. While papier-mâché is basically a mixture of paper and glue, Roman cardboard is the result of layering sheets of paper and glue. The Roman cardboard is more elastic and deformable, therefore more resistant to the physical stresses to which the wagons are subject in their movements.
Introduced in 1931, initially they were cars covered with flowers, and this is why they are still called the Infiorate Machines. Today, however, are large wagons where the figures are composed of hundreds of thousands of flowers with movements and lights.
All about the Carnival of Acireale 2019: