Viareggio‘s Carnival Museum is located inside the so-called Citadel, where the various floats and masks for the event are created. After the one in Venice, the city’s carnival is the most famous one in Italy. Children can make their own masks.
Carnival Museum Viareggio
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Santa Maria Goretti – Viareggio. Tel. +39 058453048 or 0584580730. Opening hours: From 18 September to 31 May from Wednesday till Sunday 15:00-19:00 and Saturday 09:00-13:00; From 1 June to 15 September from Wednesday till Sunday 9:00-13:00 and Saturday 15:00-19:00. Admission: 3 Euros (free for children younger than 10).
History and description
The first carnival in Viareggio took place in 1873.
The Citadel is a large park with a central square surrounded by the workshops where the papier-mâché crraftsmen build their enormous floats. When the time for carnival is near, the Citadel opens and visitors can come and watch the artists work.
Until World War II the wagons were made in various places around the city. After that the builders did their work in hangars in the Via Marco Polo, and in 2010 they moved to the Citadel.
Part of the Citadel is taken up by the Carnival Museum, at the entrance of which the statue of Burlamacco greets visitors. Burlamacco is a clown-like figure which presides over the carnival in Viareggio, and is the town’s mascot. Burlamacco was created in 1931 by Uberto Bonetti, and gave him a win in a compettition for the design of the mascot.
The museum shows models of the wagons that won the latest editions of the carnival as well as all the official carnival posters from 1925 till now, plus original works by sartists who worked at the carnival.
An educational stand explains step by step how to create a papier-mâché mask from paper, clay and water. Children as well as adults can also have a go themselves.