It is carnival time in Viareggio! For 4 consecutive weekends, starting on 27th January and an additional procession on Shrove Tuesday, huge floats have been parading along the seafront in a 2km circuit. Floats and papier machè effigies inspired by political events, or well known personalities and often allegorical, are preceded by masked dancers. With no barriers or restrictions, the crowd (and particularly those in fancy dress) become just as much a part of the moving scene as the floats themselves.
We were no exception. Yesterday, after 3 years of building works or weather preventing us from attending, we finally had our first carnevale experience (minus the fancy dress!). We shuffled along with what must have been thousands of others, flitting from one side of the circuit to the other as passing floats took our fancy. Each one pumped out music so loud that we felt the vibrations deep within us. Confetti was thrown with carefree abandon down from the floats or by other revellers, that by the end, the road was carpeted in tiny specks of paper. Quite fitting, I suppose, given the construction material.
It is definitely an event to be seen, but as I sat on the train, brushing bits of confetti out of my hair, with the music still ringing in my ears, I was grateful for the space and quiet of the carriage. I must be getting old!