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Need help with carnivale details

by xdaliv Online Now Nov 15, 2010 at 3:42 PM

A group of us including a 1 year old toddler will be in Florence in Feb 2011 and coincidentally will be there on one of the sundays when the carnivale parade will take place. So we planning for a day trip there. We prefer to visit Pisa before heading to Viareggio.

BUT despite my best efforts, i just could not find details about the carnivale. Need help with the planning

1. Do we have to buy tickets? If yes, how? can they be purchased online in advanced? price for tickets?
2. What time does it start? what time should we be there? what time does it end?
3. Will the train be packed? is reservation required?
4. The plan is to travel by train from Florence to Pisa (just for the tower). Lunch at Pisa. Take train to Viareggio. Wait/watch/experience the parade then train to Lucca for dinner before heading back to Florence and crash. Is this possible? Any other suggestions?

Please help. Spent days just looking for these info or any idea on how to do this but been unsuccessful. Either no info or lots of conflicting info. Thanks in advance

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6 Answers
  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by mccalpin Online Now Nov 15, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    First, I have no personal knowledge of the carnevale events in Viareggio, although it looks like they're very busy for weeks ;-) I am sure that I must have been in Rome during that time, but have no recollection of anything happening...oh, well...

    First, please look at the official website:
    viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/li...
    When you compare the Italian page to the English page, you will notice a number of differences; I don't know how important they are. For example, the Italian page (viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/ca... tells you when the parades are (i.e., what time, not just what day, unlike the English page).

    Primo Corso
    domenica 31 gennaio ore 15,00
    First parade
    Sunday, Jan. 31 at 3:00 p.m.

    Secondo corso
    domenica 7 febbraio ore 15,00
    Second parade
    Sunday, Feb 7 at 3:00 p.m.

    Terzo corso
    domenica 14 febbraio ore 15,00
    Third parade
    Sunday Feb 14 at 3:00 p.m.

    Quarto corso
    martedì 16 febbraio
    ore 14,50 il Carnevale di Viareggio in diretta nazionale su Rai Tre
    ore 16.00 continua la sfilata
    Fourth parade
    Tuesday, Feb 16
    at 2:20 p.m. the Carnevale di Viareggio is shown live on Rai 3 (a national channel)
    at 4:00 p.m. the parade continues

    Quinto corso
    domenica 21 febbraio ore 17,00
    Grandi fuochi di Chiusura in piazza Mazzini alle ore 19,30 circa
    a cura della ditta Mazzone di Orbetello
    Fifth parade
    Sunday, Feb 21 at 5:00 p.m.
    Great closing fireworks display in piazza Mazzini at 7:00 p.m.

    Anyway, take a look at the English page; it does answer your questions about tickets (none for the parades).

    As for the trains, nearly all the trains on all the routes you suggest are regional trains. These trains are the rail equivalent of buses - they don't take reservations, and you can get on so long as there is room to stand. But so what, as the trip from Florence to Pisa is only an hour, the trip from Pisa to Viareggio is like 22 minutes, the trip from Viareggio to Lucca is only 16 minutes, and I'll let you look up Lucca to Florence.

    The official website is www.trenitalia.com (look for English at the top). Since this is a Sunday, you need to look for your options as some routes may be reduced. Of course, the schedules for next spring won't be in the system yet (60 days out of less), but if you look at the schedules for this coming Sunday, the timings will be accurate enough for your long term planning, as schedules don't change that much over the year.

    Note that from Pisa to Viareggio, there are a few IC (InterCity) and Eurostar trains. These are "reservation-only" premium trains; hence the price difference. However, two things: (1) for the short distance you are going who cares(?), and (2) even though there are reservation-only, you can buy tickets when you walk up so long as there are seats available. Note that this means these these trains (but not the regional trains) can sell out.

    In a quick look, well, maybe yes you can do this trip, but you are going to run yourselves ragged, and I don't know what your 1-year-old will think. Just yesterday, my sister-in-law was with my niece at a children's theater event (which lasted maybe 45 minutes), and while they were waiting in line for autographs from the actors, my niece had a "meltdown" so they went home early. Still, you know the kid best ;-)

    Anyway, start plotting out the times using the trenitalia website and see how that works for you...note that, for example, from Viareggio to Lucca that you generally have only one train per hour, so you have to time your route well so as not to spend a lot of time waiting at a station (and don't miss the train!).

    Let me know if you need anything else...

    Bill

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  • xdaliv's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by xdaliv Online Now Nov 15, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    ahhh so it was on the italian side! i got lost with all the italians.

    thanks bill. that was extremely helpful. especially with the train info. i think i read somewhere that the train frequency will increase for Venice Carnivale trains, so i hope they do the same for Viareggio Parade. Also read that officials actually stops daytrippers from heading to Venice if there are too many people. I'm hoping THAT won't happen.

    As for travelling with toddlers, we can only play it by ear. That's the best attitude to keep sane, i think :)

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by mccalpin Online Now Nov 15, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Great, I am glad it helped! Oh, I did see one typo I made:

    "Grandi fuochi di Chiusura in piazza Mazzini alle ore 19,30 circa
    Big closing fireworks display in piazza Mazzini about 7:30 p.m. "

    Will more trains run? Yep, maybe...but you probably won't see the schedules until after the New Year ;-)

    Bill

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  • alza's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by alza Online Now Nov 15, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    glad you got your answer for Carnival in Viareggo! I only know it in summer, for the GREAT passeggiata promenade along the sea (called lungomare) starting at 18:00 hrs (6 p.m.) every night
    ... and then endless noctambule evenings (night-bird time) ahhh...

    if you need current advice on restaurants in Pisa and Lucca, let me know. I was there in June and found good places. Also have a 2010 guide book to Tuscany that proved excellent and has suggestions for all budgets.

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by mccalpin Online Now Nov 29, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    hahaha, Lourdes! Because of the heading that said "2011" I didn't notice that the page was for 2010! Oops! Good catch!

    Yes, the 2011 page (in Italian) will probabaly be this one: viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/ca...
    but, as you point out, there's hardly any information on it...

    As we say in Rome...mannnnnnaaaaaaaggggiaaaaaaaa ;-)

    Bill

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  • xdaliv's Profile Photo

    Re: Need help with carnivale details

    by xdaliv Online Now Dec 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    Haha i replied to another post about driving about that. Also caught the date difference several days ago and the first parade will fall when we will be in Florence. No worries.

    Thanks Lourdes for the help. It is helpful to get some advice from someone who have been to the parade. Now its just to decide whether to go to the parade at all! *head planner for a very ficky group that is called family.

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