Venice has its elegant and sophisticated carnevale (carnival) and Brazil has its wild and extravagant carnevale, but Florence has made its mark with its international carnevale. Dave and I walked to Piazza Repubblica to catch a glimpse of the carnevale parade. We stood along via degli Strozzi for at least an hour and a half with many other people to watch all the participants.
Many communities participated in the carnevale, like the Greeks, Finnish, Columbians, Mexicans, Albanians, Germans, Filipinos, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankans, Russians, Ecuadorians, Norwegians, Swedish, Brazilians, as well as people from the Ivory Coast. Surprising to me, the largest groups of people in the carnevale were the Mexicans, Peruvians, and Germans.
Each group marched by in their local costumes. They played some of their own music and danced in the streets. The Swedish float had a small tribute to Abba and many of them were dressed up in 70's costumes singing Abba songs.
There were many children dressed up in colorful costumes that followed the parade. People in the parade as well as other passersby were throwing confetti and spraying foam out of a can at the spectators. I had to wipe off some foam that I thought was shaving cream off of my hair, face, and jacket.
After watching the entire parade, we walked to Piazza della Signoria to hear each of the groups perform on a stage up at the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. We even saw about ten guys going through the crowds holding up a paper Chinese dragon. Something I haven't seen in years.
Today was the first time that I realized just how international Florence really is. Because of the high number of tourists, I often assumed that most of the non-Italian people here were just visiting. When I've been to Rome and Milan, I noticed that there are many different races that have immigrated to those cities, but I wasn't aware that the same was really true in Florence as well.
I felt the carnevale was such a wonderful celebration of the different cultures that have come to call Florence their home. I was disappointed that there was no American group in the parade, but I realized that the number of Americans in Florence might have been staggering.
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