As is the custom, this past Sunday the Mayor of Trieste handed over the key to the city to the King and Queen of Carnevale 2020 to signify the start of the festivities. Fat Thursday is this week and already families (with pets in tow) parade around town in matching outfits to festoon passersby (and each other) with streamers and confetti. This year Trieste will celebrate Carnevale from the 16-26 February.

For the uninitiated, this town really enjoys its Carnevale.  Trieste, Opicina and Muggia are all gearing up for the festivities this week until Fat Tuesday. In these communities, neighborhood associations gather their members to come up with a theme to represent them and they spend the entire winter designing and building elaborate costumes, floats and rehearsing choreographed numbers. Competition is fierce and participants include everyone from infants to nonagenerians. Surely, their love of this holiday is rooted in the days when Trieste was under the rule of La Serenissma (Venice) and in even older ancient pagan rites traced back to the mountain villages in the surrounding Carso (Karst).

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, was watching the Carnevale parade passing below from the window of his house overlooking Piazza della Borsa, (the one now over the clothing shop Desigual) — 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:

There will be the usual parties and parades in the districts of Trieste; Servola, San Giovanni, Roiano, Borgo San Sergio and Barriera Vecchia.


Servola at 10.30am Student parade
San Giovanni 10.30am Student parade
Servola 3.30pm Parade of the “Serve”

Barriera Vecchia  10am District parade
Borgo San Sergio 10am District parade
Servola 4.30pm Parade of the Ricreatori (afterschool centers)

Piazza Unita’ 2pm-6pm Music & Games for kids
Roiano 2.30pm District Parade
San Giovanni  2.30pm Party in Piazza Gioberti

Piazza Unita’ 10am-1pm Music & Games for kids
Servola 3.30pm Contest/Parade

Valmaura 5pm District parade

TRIESTE at 2.00 pm 29th edition of the Carnevale Parade Starts in Piazza Oberdan and winds its way down via Carducci to Corso Italia ending up in Piazza Unita’ for dancing and celebrations.

Servola at 3.30 pm Funeral for the Carnevale
San Giovanni Carnival 4 pm Farewell to the Carnevale

KARST CARNEVALE OF OPICINA will take place on Saturday 22 February 2020. Now in its 53rd edition, the parade starts in front of the CONAD supermarket in Opicina at 2:00pm (all participants gather at the start by 1.00 pm) then marches down the Strada per Vienna to the Rotunda and then proceeds to Via Prosecco.  Traditionally they gather at Bar Tabor to celebrate afterwards. The parade features floats made of wood, papier mâche and other materials. This year will feature King Trumpic and Queen Melissa. It is a very raucous and colorful parade and they really go all out with the costumes and floats, so don’t miss it! Program here.

CARNEVALE OF MUGGIA will  take place SUNDAY February 23 2020 at 1:00pm: This year marks the 67th edition of the Carnevale of Muggia or Carneval de Muja. Participants will display their highly anticipated floats in the traditional Sunday parade. For the entire week, there will be a fun-filled schedule of shows and traditional events — something for everyone; the ancient Dance of the Vegetables, the handing over of the town’s keys to the Carnival King and the funeral just to name a few. Eight companies (Bellezze Naturali, Bulli e Pupe, Bora, Brivido, Lampo, Mandrioi, Ongia and Trottola) manage to preserve the old charm of the Muggia Carnevale with their artistic talent and playful spirit. Over 2000 participants accompanied by 9 bands and 30 floats will make up the main event. The floats are driven by complex mechanical systems that are the result of several years of patient work by passionate craftsmen and volunteer technicians. Program here.

Carnevale is also about all the sinful treats so be sure to try them all out; the various frittole (fried dough with raisins, or filled with pastry cream or apple chunks), the crostoli (paper thin fried dough ribbons sprinkled with sugar) and the bugie (fried dough filled with jam). I hear that if you eat them during the holiday they are calorie free….!!!! 😉 My personal favorites below are the frittole made by Cadenaro in Via Palestrina!



recipe found on COSSA CUSINO OGGI FB Page A Trieste-centric cooking group


300gr ricotta
150 gr sugar
300gr flour
the zest of one orange
pinch of salt
1 pouch yeast
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
raisins (optional, if using give them a soak in a cup of rum for about 20mins until plump)
Vegetable oil for frying

mix the ricotta with the sugar, then add eggs one at a time, then add all the dry ingrdients. Using a stand mixer, form a very sticky, wet dough, with a texture almost as loose as a dense batter. Fold in the raisins so they are equally distributed throughout the dough.

Cover the bowl and set in a warm place for the dough to rise. Let it rest until the dough has doubled in volume and full of tiny bubbles.

Heat oil at least 5cm/2 inches deep in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven to 180C/350F. Drop in the dough by small spoonfuls, using one spoon to scoop up the sticky dough and another to slip it off the first spoon and into the hot oil. Deep fry until the dough balls are puffed up and golden brown.

Serve your fritole still warm, covered with confectioner’s sugar.

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