Mardi Gras is just a few days away and you are already missing Carnival street parades and masked balls? Follow the advice of your trusted local guides, Mirella and Valeria, and fly to Milan, where Carnival will peak next Saturday!
Yes, in Milan we celebrate Carnival a little later than the rest of the Christian world. But what is Carnival? It is the festive season of parades, street parties, weaker self-control and crazy costumes that is celebrated just before the beginning of Lent. Lent is quite the opposite: the period of time during which Christians get prepared to Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, through prayer, atonement, and repentance.
In the Christian world, Carnival is celebrated on Mardi Gras, just before Ash Wednesday. But in Milan and its sorroundings, where we follow the so called Ambrosian Rite, Lent begins a little later, on the following Sunday. Therefore we have a few more days when we can indulge ourselves with crazy costumes, wild celebrations, masks and balls and above all with the typical delicious Carnival fritters.
You’ll love tortelli, graffe, castagnole, ravioli fritti, and especially chiacchiere, that is angel wings, sweet crisp pastry made out of dough, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Chiacchiere in Italian means “small talk”, but the same pastry has a different name in the different regions of Italy: it is named bugie in Genoa, cenci in Firenze, lattughe in Mantua, maraviglias in Sardinia, and stracci, pampuglie, manzole, etc. etc. Whatever their name, next Saturday, or rather Fat Saturday, get yourself some chiacchiere and enjoy the parade floats that will fill Duomo square in the afternoon. But be prepared as well to a deluge of colorful confetti and streamers!