07 February 2008

Le maschere!

Il Carnevale 08

Tuesday was the last night of Il Carnevale and Ascoli Piceno again put on a colorful show that filled Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Arringo. Last year was subdued a little by wet weather but this year we had clear days for the whole week and the papers reported ninety groups registered for the judging, a new record. There are individual and group prizes in different categories for the best maschere (costumes) and there is even a category for nonni e nipoti, grandparents and grandkids.

One of the things we noticed last year and was confirmed this year was the large percentage of the men in costume dressed in drag. Putting on a wig, some make-up and a dress seems to be a common maschera for men of all ages. We have asked several friends why the men do this and all we get is a smile, a shrug of the shoulders and a “that is just what they do” type of answer.

The festivities began last Thursday with the school kids parading through the centro storico in their maschere. Friday we were invited to Offida for their special Il Carnevale event, il bove finto, and Saturday night we went to a huge dinner with some friends and their family, another long night of eating. Sunday the piazze were packed shoulder to shoulder as the groups wandered around for all to see and this was repeated again Tuesday night.

The mornings were reserved mostly for families with their small children to fill the piazze with their bright maschere and cheerful cries while throwing confetti. I think seeing the kids dressed up is the best part of this event. The older teenagers seem to spend their time running around trying to spray each other with the cans of foam that the vendors sell; I consider them a nuisance to avoid. In the evening the adults come out in their maschare to see and be seen by those out to enjoy the show…like us.


Barbara said...

We too have wondered about the men in drag thing ever since our first Carnevale 4 years ago, but like you, I guess it's just something only the Italians understand. The kids are so cute in their costumes, but boy, there's nothing uglier than an Italian man in drag!

Anonymous said...

It's probably easiest to dress up in their wives clothes. Their wives probably dress them :)It might be as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I love the contrast of the almost bland backgrounds and architecture juxtaposed with the vibrant colors of the people. The hanging Chandaliers look beautiful as well!

Anonymous said...


I came across your site here by chance as I was looking for information on applying for a residency card in Italy... (wish me luck)

I have read all about "the process" in your site, and laughed to myself, it is so true... you can never go to one place and expect to get what you need done, done, but you must make at least... at least 3 or 4 trips back again. I know all about it. I have been in Italy for almost 4 years now... and still my permisso is in process, still in Rome and with many times contacting them and looking on the net for the finished date... nothing, but I do have the receipt, and that is a blessing.

I applied for my medical card this morning and got a paper.. they told me it will arrive in the mail. ohh the process of everything... ha ha.

I am Canadian and moved to Italy. I never knew that the process would be so difficult. I live in Milano, Italy.

Keep up the great work on your site.. it is wonderful to read that I am not the only one that has such trouble trying to get all my papers fixed correctly here.

Have a great day... ohh and because today is Feb 14th... Happy Valentines Day to you and your wife.

Hugs & Kisses

Bryan said...

The colors and sights of Carnevale are great...it is a little wierd though seeing all the men in drag.

Shelley - shared frustration can always be a helpful release. Keep plugging at it.