Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hunting Carnevale 2012: 21 Febbraio 2012

By Joey

So one of the reasons that we wanted to come back to Sciacca in February was the fantastic, spectacular festival of Carnevale. It's the Italian version of Mardi Gras, before lent. We experienced it in 2007 and it's hard to describe how crazy and wondeful it was. Here's a YouTube video of a float and there were ten of them all 3 stories high and animated. People were dancing and singing behind each float as they paraded through the city every evening from 4 to midnight for the five days before lent. The last float representing the character called Pepe Napa, the bad boy of lent, had barbecues on the back of it and they gave away sausages (in rolls) and cups of red wine. Peppe Nappa is a selfish character and the offering of the food to everyone was to symbolize generosity. Tuesday night ends with the burning of the Pepe Napa float sending it all to ashes, thus beginning Ash Wednesday. The artistry of the papermache floats was just amazing.

Well just before we left to come here we found out that Carnevale in Sciacca was cancelled this year because of economic difficulties in the town, disrupting a 100 year history. So on Tuesday, we rented a car to try to get to a Carnevale festival on the east coast of Sicily in Acireale that was known to be good. We drove 4 hours in the pouring rain, through miles of Italians constructing a new highway, got lost in Catania, finally arrived in Acireale to discover that carnevale was canceled (because of the torrential rain and fog). Okay. We were just not destined to see Carnevale again. We're glad we got to see it the one time. We found the floats made of flowers sitting in a little piazza and we drove through Acireale which was a very beautiful town.

We had thought we could at least see the famous volcano Etna but we could hardly see the car in front of us. The weather being what it was, we just turned around and came back to Sciacca.  It was a pretty bad ride and I said to Bernie, "it wouldn't be a real vacation without one really crappy day." We can now say that we've had a real vacation.

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