This past Sunday, the Mayor of Trieste handed over the key to the city to the King and Queen of Carnevale 2019 to signify the start of the festivities. Fat Thursday is this week and already, families (with pets in tow) in matching outfits have taken to the streets with their adorable kids to festoon piazzas and each other with streamers and confetti.
For the uninitiated, Trieste really enjoys its Carnevale. Host to the Carnevale d’Europa last week, Trieste, Opicina and Muggia are all gearing up for the festivities this week until the Fat Tuesday. In these communities, neighborhood associations gather their members to come up with a theme to represent them designing and building elaborate costumes, floats and choreographed exhibitions. Competition is fierce and participants include everyone from infants to nonagenerians. Surely, their love of this holiday is rooted in the days under the rule of La Serenissma (Venice) and even ancient pagan rites traced back to the mountain villages in the surrounding Carst. Trieste also claims this holiday as it proudly boasts that it is here where confetti were invented.
The story goes that in 1876, a 14 yr-old Ettore Fenderl, from the window of his house overlooking Piazza della Borsa, (the one now over the clothing shop Desigual) was watching the Carnevale parade passing below — but he lacked the customary candies or flower petals to toss on the marchers below — so he hastily shredded paper into little pieces and began showering them on the celebrants below. Other spectators nearby copied him and soon a trend was born, (happily, Fenderl grew up to be famous for more than confetti — he became a celebrated nuclear physicist who created the first laboratory for research into radioactivity in 1926 in Rome).
This year the festivities will unfold as follows:
SATURDAY March 2 at 2:00pm : The 52nd edition of the Carnevale Carsico in Opicina. A wonderful parade filled with music, food and elaborate floats.
SUNDAY March 3rd at 1:15pm: The 66th edition of the Carnevale of Muggia or Carneval de Muja. Participants will display their highly anticipated floats in the traditional Sunday parade.
TUESDAY March 5 at 2:00pm: The culmination of these days of celebration is Martedi Grasso or Shrove Tuesday when there will be the traditional parade starting in Piazza Oberdan, following Via Carducci to Via Imbriani, Corso Italia and ending up in Piazza Unita’. There will be the awards followed by music and dancing in the Piazza.
Be sure to enjoy all the delicious treats one can find during Carnevale; the various frittole (fried dough with raisins, or cream filled or apple fritters), the crostoli (paper thin fried dough ribbons sprinkled with sugar), the bugie (fried dough filled with jam), the castagnole (fried dough balls). I hear that if you eat them during the holiday they are calorie free….!!!! 😉
If you’d like to try making crostoli at home, here is a simple but proven recipe:
200 ml. heavy cream
270 gr. flour
a pinch of salt
Peanut oil for frying.
Using the pasta machine, roll out the dough very thin. Then cut into strips and fry until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels and then dust with sugar.
Enjoy and have fun!!