If you are looking for an alternative to the carnevale crowds in Viareggio and Venice, Verona may hold the ticket. Gnocchi Friday in Verona is kind of like Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. It’s the first of FIVE days of celebration as the fun carnevale period ends and the Christian abstinence period of Lent begins. Verona is a city in the northern Italian province of Veneto, often thought of when Romeo and Juliet are mentioned.
GNOCCHI FRIDAY “Venerdi Gnoccolare” Starting around noon on Friday floats start to gather for their journey through downtown, starting around 2pm. Led by “Il Papa Gnocco” (the Father of Gnocchi), 70 floats participate along with bands and entertainers in front of 100,000+ strong crowd. The 6 km parade ends at Piazza Bra, but head over to Piazza Zeno where the real fun begins in my opinion (FOOD!). Gnocchi is made by mixing potatoes and flour, cutting into small squares and then boiling in water. It can be served with a variety of toppings; the Veronese eat it with a meat ragu and even have their own word for the after-effect of eating too much, GNOCCOLONITA!
The best of the rest:
HISTORICAL REGATTA (SATURDAY) “Regata Storica Sull’Adige” Since the fifteenth century, Prince Reboano arrives by canoe on Saturday afternoon and leads a masked carnival procession through the Filippini district and ending in Piazza Bra.
CARNIVAL ON LISTON (SUNDAY) “Carnevale sul Liston” A Carnival party begins in Piazza bra late in the morning and moves through the other districts of the City in the afternoon.
FEAST OF SANTO STEFANO (MONDAY) “Luni Pignatar” Traditional soup and plenty of music are on tap Monday afternoon in the Santo Stefano District of Verona.
FAT TUESDAY “Martedi Grasso” An afternoon party in the Porto San Pancrazio district on Shrove Tuesday begins at 2:30 pm and carries into the night.
Carnevale Verona Official Website (Italian)
Lisa M. Vogele is the author of Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a travel reference guide that “helps you go local” by incorporating festivals into your travel planning. The second book in her Food & Folklore Series on Festivals of Spain will hit the shelves in 2017. You can find out more information about Lisa’s books, custom itineraries and small group tours at Lisa’s Travel Guides. BROCHURE: Fun with Food & Festivals Tours!
Arena di Verona rick ligthelm via Foter.com / CC BY
Gnocchi with Ragu I am Jeffrey via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
All other photos from Carnevale Verona Official Committee