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Carnevaletto da tre soldi

Written by Federico Stango.

Carnival is for many italians a curious happening: kids wait for it knowing that for once in the year (during the last days of winter or the beginning of spring) they might change themselves into their greatest heroes and play whatever kind of trick or joke to scare friends and adults; adults, by reverse, usually get annoyed by it or they get taken by a weird melancholy.

Il manifesto dell'edizione 2009 del Carnevaletto da tre soldiOf course we could talk about the latin origins of the word "carnival" or "carnem levare" (to get rid of the mortal body) as is. We could talk about the cristian traditions that gave Carnival this name and the fact it meant the banquets preceeding the abstinence of the Lent. We could think about the calculations with which cristians determine the Easter sunday and from that day the Carnival days and celebrations. Obviously the "carnevaletto da tre soldi" celebrated in Orbetello comes from all this.

By the way, a date is just a mark on the calendars if no one gives its time and energies to make something so special happen. It's only because of all this passion and energies that in 1953 a group of people from Orbetello (formerly Mr. Angione, Mr. Nigido and Mr. Braccianti) brought to life the so loved "carnevaletto da tre soldi"  with the beautifully arranged song "E' carnevale" from the maestro Anteo Ercole.

From 1953 up nowadays many times floats and carnival masks paraded back and forth Corso Italia, being the perfect prize for all who really wanted this event to be so great. Through the years, despite many uncaring authorities, the event grew into a real tradition for the town and many professionnels, tourists and citizens reached Orbetello to enjoy the beautiful show made of complex choreographies and floats so good to compete with the more famous Carnival of Viareggio.

Anyway, some started complaining that the floats were too big for the main road of Orbetello; some others complained that blocking the access to Corso Italia and let people pay a small fee to have access to it (residents never payed anyway) was nonetheless against the constitution; some residents of the main street complained that the carnival brought too much noise to their houses and that having those mammooth floats "zipping" along their windows was damn annoying (by the way, I still have a hard time imaging those "god-knows-how-many-tons" weighting beasts running so fast). All this together with many quarters literally angry that the Neghelli float team kept winning year after year.

Everyone in Orbetello had his own reasons, but the news is simply that by the end of the 90's this economically and culturally impacting tradition has been retired. How many remember those handful of sundays spent dressed with those lovingly handmade masks? How many folks in Orbetello still remember the dancing night before the privy giving party by the New Line disco?

Probably many kids from that era are now adults that reading this articles are feeling a bit of melancholy about it. Maybe some of you would like to see again those beautiful floats or at least the beauties dancing ON the floats. Well, finally the "Carnevaletto da tre soldi" has come back! Thanks to the help of the Comune di Orbetello and the renewed energy from some Orbetello folks, starting from 2009 both tourists and citizens, adults and kids will have a chance to enjoy once again that celebrations that opens the gates to spring time.

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