Viareggio in Tuscany has one of the largest Carnevale celebrations in Europe that last for several weekends. Colourful parades that draw hundreds of thousands are known for their colossal paper mâché puppets depicting politicians, actors, celebrities, animals and other figures. Huge floats circling between the beach and shopping district get more complex and creative each year. Thought-provoking allegorical floats play their own soundtracks and feature dancers who captivate the audience. The floats compete against each other in two categories: group floats and single floats. The winners are awarded on the final day of Carnevale.
Carnevale in Viareggio started in 1873 as a masquerade for the rich bourgeois. Its official mascot is Burlamacco, first depicted in 1931 by Uberto Bonetti. This clown-like figure is dressed in the red and white, colours of the umbrellas on the beach at Viareggio. Named after Burlamacca river, Burlamacco has a statue dedicated to him on the Lungomare in Viareggio.
The carnival is followed by masked and musical dance parties that last all night. They are called veglioni colorati. The women wear dresses of certain hues and the decorations have to follow a specific colour theme. The best bars and clubs of Viareggio participate in the celebration, holding special events.