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Carnival in the Sorrento Peninsula, ancient traditions and unforgettable flavours

Carnival is one of the most awaited celebrations in Campania, homeland of Pulcinella and still today the cradle of evocative carnivals throughout the region. From the Carnival of Capua, with imposing allegorical floats, to the Agropoli’s one (Salerno), led by the Saracen, up to that of Monteramarano (Avellino), marked by the rhythm of tarantella. Our region is the favourite land of masquerade celebrations.

And the Sorrento Peninsula is no exception, indeed! Here, in fact, particular festivals take place, in constant balance between the sacred - it is the period that anticipates the strict Lent - and the profane – meant as apotheosis of excess.

 

The court jester: Carnival at Termini

 

Termini, a hamlet of Massa Lubrense very close to our 4-star hotel, boasts the most picturesque carnival in the Sorrento Peninsula. Officially, the debut dates back to February 15, 1983, but the carnival spirit had already been there for some time. Ten years earlier, a natural disaster had weakened the people of Termini and Nerano, covering the hamlets with a thick blanket of pain.

To exorcise it, the owner of a local pharmacy proposed to organize an event that would revive citizen's spirits, bringing back smiles and hopes. So, the carnival was born, represented by a court jester: as the fool had the task of entertaining the nobles in royal palaces, the Termini Carnival had to cheer the locals.

Year after year, the event has become increasingly popular, using modern technologies and materials. Today, allegorical floats and colorful masks parade along the Termini alleys in the four Carnival Sundays, amusing both adults and children. Songs, dances and stands of typical delicacies reflect in a landscape full of poetry: Termini overlooks the idyllic island of Capri.

 

Carnival in Sorrento

 

In Sorrento, the Carnival have celebrated for a long time as an eternal struggle between opposite values: the sacred against the profane, the moderation against waste. A diatribe that, in past centuries, was exorcised with the physical clash of symbolic puppets.

Until 1799, in fact, in Sorrento there was the tradition of "A morte 'e Sorriento" (Death in Sorrento): from the two opposite points of the city two chariots left, the first full of delicacies and guided by the fat puppet of the Carnival, the second filled with pulses and cod, with a skinny mannequin at the head, an icon of Lent. At midnight, at the city gates, the two carts faced each other, in front of a skeleton symbol of Death. The Death eliminated the carnival puppet, allowing locals to take advantage of the rich load and end the party with an impressive night bonfire.

Today the Carnival of Sorrento shows more modern clothes, with masked balls, parades and shows in the historic centre of the city. A universe of music and colours that explodes on Shrove Tuesday.

 

Carnival delicacies

 

Carnival time, in the Christian calendar, precedes Lent, synonymous with penitence and deprivation. Therefore, the carnival is the most suitable occasion to spoil yourself a little, before the "lean" weeks and the Sorrentines certainly do not make themselves pray!

In these days of celebration, in fact, tables are laden with delicacies, especially meat-based ones, which must be limited during Lent. Lasagne, mixed roasts, and tasty cicerchie are accompanied by local specialties such as the Carnival pizza, made with eggs, cheese and sausage and accompanied with friarielli sautéed in a pan.

Such a banquet can’t end without a traditional dessert: from the crunchy chiacchiere dip with honey to the lemon fritters, to the substantial sanguinaccio, nowadays made with chocolate instead of pork blood.

 

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