02 Feb 2010

Carnival is not only about costumes and delicious sweets… it’s also about spray foam, stinky-bombs and over-excited teenagers.

The downsides of visiting Tuscany at carnival time

You might think that Carnival is a festive time if you work in a school in Tuscany or elsewhere in Italy. I remember having a lot of fun at Carnival parties when I was in school: I can still smell the colourful paper of the coriandoli (confetti) and the streamers (stelle filanti), the brand new fabric with which costumes were made, of the delicious Carnival sweets that our mothers had prepared, the music…

Well, I can tell you that, over the last few years, many schools have started banning Carnival parties and giving their students a short break around Mardi Gras, partly to give everybody a chance to celebrate and party and partly, in my opinion, because principals are worried about the way their school is going to be messed up!

Carnival in Italy is not only about delicious sweets, costumes, confetti and streamers… it’s also about spray foam, stink-bombs and stupid tricks. We have a saying: “A carnevale, ogni scherzo vale“, meaning “at carnival, all tricks are good”, so we are used to putting up with stupid stuff at this time of the year. But still…

Walking in any high-street these days means havingĀ  to avoid teenagers running around trying to spray each other with foam… The other day, I went to the park with my dog and there were two groups of kids fighting with firecrackers and throwing fake blood at each other. I had to avoid a couple of coarse screaming girls trying to escape what I suppose was some type of rough flirtation consisting in a guy trying to clean a girl’s hair and jacket, which were covered in egg and flour

These are the downsides of carnival… but then, walking home, I stopped at my favourite pastry shop in Pisa and the taste of the “frittelle di carnevale” made me forget all about the foam, the stink-bombs and the firecrackers! Those are definitely the positive sides of carnival!


  1. I totally agree with your feelings, but having two kids myself I don’t think it is their fault but of the people who invented and mercendised those stupid products like foam, fake ink and fake blod etc. If these products were not available so widely, the kids will still be using coriandoli, stelle filanti and smelly stuff (do you remember thenm – the awful rotten egg smell?). Kids get out of control, above all when the parents are not around to check on them (and during school parties parents are not there!) but if the stuff was not available I don’t think they will do so much damage as they do at the moment.

    What do you think? Ciao Monica

  2. I think kids will be kids. The messier the stuff they can use, the messier their environment will be.
    Parents can only do so much, and so can teachers.

    I do remember coriandoli, stelle filanti, those trumpets that unfolded when you blew!!! Cool!

    Well, I better put my armor on… I need to go out today!!

  3. No need of an armour, just a very heavy trench coat!


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