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CARNIVAL IN ITALY

Dec 04, 2014

  From the beginning of the Renaissance to the end of the 18th century this was the time of year when the Romans could forget the oppressive rules of the Church and enjoy themselves without fear of its heavy hand. The Church and its leaders, from the Pope down to the humble Priest, considered any kind of enjoyment an offence to the suffering of Christ, therefore to be condemned, but, since the population needed to be distracted from time to time, the Church allowed this short period to be dedicated to the commoners.One of the most important and enjoyable events during Carnival was a race of free running horses through the main street of the towns and cities of Italy,(this is why, now, the main street in all Italian towns is called "Via Del Corso" meaning, the street of the race). In Rome aristocrats and Church leaders would rent balconies and windows overlooking the street to watch the race, the population would watch from street level and everyone would be betting and cheering on, hopefully, the winning horse.The same kind of race is still held today in the town of Siena in Tuscany, it takes place 3 times a year in the main square and is known as " the Palio".The origins of the Carnival derive also from Roman times when, on one day in the month of February, slaves took the place of their owners and the owners became the slaves, this was to demonstrate how democratic the Roman Republic was.