Last year we were living in Sicily and booked a bed and breakfast in Acireale for Carnevale and loved watching the big floats parading down the street, listening to the music and seeing all the colorful costumes of the people. It was fantastic. This year was a bit more subdued but still fun. Since we've been traveling around so much we decided to just stick around Vietri and see what developed. We had conflicting opinions on what would actually happen, with some people telling us we should go to Maiori since they have a big celebration on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, others certain that Vietri had its own version, others suggesting one little town or another. Ultimately we decided on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday to walk up to Vietri centro, to Piazza Amendola and see what was going on. In Sicily, in Marina di Ragusa, for 4 Sundays leading up to the official Tuesday before, all the kids in town (and from Ragusa and surrounding cities as well) showed up in the main piazza in costumes and it was just fun to watch them running around and having a good time, slinging confetti and silly string at each other.
That is what we found on this past Sunday, the 18th of February. The costumes were fantastic! So creative. The parents go all out for this and the costumes are incredible. You hardly see two of the same kind. Bob took a bunch of photos and we'll post some here. It was very low-key for us but we enjoyed it all the same. The kids - anywhere from toddlers to maybe 8 or 9 year olds - were absolutely adorable and clearly had a blast. We also met a group of pre-teen girls who were walking up and down the main street showing off their pretty costumes and generally having a good time.
The day of Carnevale, Tuesday, it rained, so the parade in Maiori, we were told, would be cancelled until Sunday the 25th (today) and we debated about whether to go or not and decided to skip it. We were told that traffic can be horrendous, that unless you go early in the morning and find a place to park that you could end up walking from Cetara, a pretty long distance. We could have taken the bus, but just didn't feel like doing all that. Instead, we spent a lazy Sunday, sleeping in a bit, leisurely breakfast, a walk up to Vietri to look in the ceramics shop windows and get caught up on my writing. We have started to pack and go through our things, tossing unnecessary stuff and making piles to give away and to save.
We are pretty certain that the little town of Milford, Delaware, our next home, will probably not celebrate Carnevale like they do in Italy and for this we are sad. We love the way they do it here. It is so much a family event. Not like the restaurant Fat Tuesday in the states, just an excuse for getting drunk and eating spicy food. There are these certain cookies they make too, called Chiacchiere (not sure I have the spelling correct) that are like strips of dough - like lasagna noodles - baked and then sprinkled with powdered sugar that I absolutely love and hope my neighbor shows me how to make. They are just crispy and delightful and the powdered sugar gets all over you but who cares! Lasagna also is the meal associated with Carnevale here in Vietri. We tried to go out to a restaurant Martine recommended by when we got there at 9:30 things had not yet even thought about starting up and we decided it seemed more for the younger crowd and went down the block to one of our other favorite places for a late meal.
That's one of things about eating out in Italy. Don't even think about going out until at least 7:30. Most Italians don't show up until around 9. That's something we do look forward to in the states, eating dinner (or lunch for that matter) when we are ready, not having to take a nap in the afternoon if we want to go out to dinner because it will be so late! OK, we will sacrifice the quality of the food for sure. We know we won't be able to get the same kind of tomatoes, or mozzarella or parmegiano cheeses, the same pasta dishes or roasted vegetables...but don't let me start thinking about those things now!!!
Rosemary and Bob