Carnival in Rome is a special time of the year - the streets buzz with children dressed in their favorites costumes, the pastry shops fill with delicious regional treats, and the city holds festivals to delight and amuse both children and adults.

Running this year from January 24th until February 9th, it is over two weeks of tradition that bring together the city.

By taking part to the Roman Carnival will allow you to be spectator and actor at the same time!

Carnevale is one of Italy’s biggest winter festivals, celebrated in the weeks before Lent. The final day of Carnevale is Martedì Grasso (Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras, along with the Thursday before, called Giovedí Grasso (Fat Thursday), are the main days of Carnival.

Rome is the place where Carnival began, and throughout history has always been a big centre of Carnival celebrations. 

From Thursday, 4th , the whole city (historical center and suburbs) are turned into a hive of activity, hosting open-air theatre, games, workshops, equestrian art performances, activities and parties for children, as well as the masks for which Carnevale is famous. 

There is a full program of shows, dancing nights, parades, masquerades, fireworks, fairs and musical performances….find below some highlights for “Carnevale Romano 2016”

The opening ceremony and parade are one of the high points of the celebration, as tourists and locals alike gather in their thousands to experience one of the most colorful and exciting traditional street celebrations in Europe.

The starting point for the Carnevale Romano is set up on Piazza Navona, Saturday, February 6th at 2.00 pm.

At 3.00 pm the big Carnival Parade, which is one of the main parts of the Carnival celebrations, will take place with equestrian choreographed shows with knights and ladies in costume, many masked groups, typical roman masks, costumed figurants, and continuing at 4.00 pm with the performance of groups of historical re-enactment of ancient Rome. 

Expect music, costumes, shows, parades, floats, gladiators, dancing and much more till late!!

Do not miss the Historical Parade in mask in Via Tiburtina, which will have as lady patroness the famous Roman actress Sabrina Ferilli and that will develop into a path of 1.5 km, and will consist of a “Historical Parade”, a number of “Masked Groups “and” floats “; everything will move on a virtual stage of 30,000 square meters. on which you can be both actors and spectators.

Sunday, Feb 7th at 10.00 “ Sfilata dei Carri Allegorici”: the enormous, animated parade floats along gigantic papier-mâché caricatures of the big political, cultural and showbiz names dominate the Ancient City from Piazza Venezia toward the Colosseum (Via dei Fori Imperiali).

Carri Allegorici (Parade floats) are extraordinary machines with movements that become increasingly complex each year, showing off the ideal marriage between grandiose scenographic effects, new technologies and, of course, the mastery of Italian artistic talent. 

This year Rome Carnevale also celebrates Queen Christina of Sweden on the 360th anniversary of her arrival in Rome, with a number of initiatives organised by the city in collaboration with the Swedish embassy and the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome.   So you can expect many art exibitions and musical programs for this tribute especially at Palazzo Barberini.


If you have children, then head to Piazza Navona during Carnival Opening Ceremony on Saturday where Italian families bring their kids to show off their costumes and to watch street performers and theatre shows.

On Sunday, Feb 7th at 11.00, will start from the Gardens of Piazza Vittorio, a great carnival costume, clown with artists and animators for the Small Carnival Harmonic now in its thirteenth edition and dedicated to Brazil and to all peoples of the world.

The Biopark of Rome, however, this year there will be Carnival Giraffoso with animators inside the park and an entertaining stage show from 12:30 to 15:00.

What to Eat in Rome during Carnival Festivities

What feast in Italy wouldn't be complete without traditional food to go along with it?  Carnival is no exception, as the pastry shops in Rome begin selling frappe, bigne and castagnole.

Frappe are flat strips of fried dough, crisp sweets as are often dusted with powdered sugar; 

castagnole are soft fried dough balls about the size of a chestnut covered in sugar and may be filled with custard or cream; and bigne are filled with cream, usually yellow, but sometimes you can find a cream of a different flavour;