Milan gears up for Ambrosian carnival

A week of parties leading up to Saturday 13 February.

As Milan prepares for the big parade on Saturday 13 February, associations, museums, bars and night-clubs across the city are staging events with a carnival theme, starting on Tuesday 9 February.

Kids in costume lie in wait for unwary passers-by all over town, ready to shower them with confetti, streamers or gooey, coloured foam as they get a second bite at carnival fun when Milan and its hinterland observe the Ambrosian rite, with a four-day shift in the date of Lent.

The climax of the celebrations will come on Saturday, when the traditional street parade will start out from Piazza Beccaria at 15.00 and complete a circuit around Piazza del Duomo. This year’s theme for floats and costumes will be “Opposites”: black and white, night and day, the wolf and the lamb – “on this special day they should stop being enemies and join up to animate the festival,” say the organisers, the diocese youth movement.

For families who prefer to stay indoors (especially if the weather is bad – at present, the forecast is for a cool, cloudy day), the Milan Planetarium in Corso Venezia 57 will put on two special carnival shows at 15.00 and 16.30 for kids (recommended age 6 plus) exploring the universe in the company of their favourite characters.

Alongside the carnival, the 11th Milano Clown Festival will hit the streets from Wednesday to Saturday with 120 free indoor and outdoor events by 60 artists from 8 nations in 21 locations across the city. A detailed programme day by day is on the Clown Festival website.