Continuing from our first day in Viareggio, on Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and got ready to take some shots around the around the neighbourhood. It’s an interesting experience going around in a group with so much heavy equipments.
We then headed towards the port :
It’s so pretty here, with the place reminding me a bit like when we visited Lake Como in Milan.
By the way, according to our driver, this is the Torre Matilde – the oldest building in Viareggio dating back to 1500s.
We then drove to the Citadella.
This place is so colourful!
The cittadella del carnevale (Carnival Citatel) is a place where the floats are built and stored. There are 16 hangars altogether and the area comprises of a museum and a restaurant.
And the place is impressively huge! I estimate that each hangar is at least a 4 storey high building. Just compare the size of the floats to a regular person.
I was then given a microphone to use for the first time – this device was to be slipped under the shirt and taped towards the collar. There is a part which looks like a paper clip is supposed to be left free.
We met up with Andrea, one of the staff working at the citadella and before I knew it, the camera was rolling. The hosts Mas and Seri started talking excitedly in Malay and I was listening in and the continued talking … and then out of the blue they asked me, “So Marina, can you ask him how the festival started” and I blanked out. The hosts continued smiling and gently prodded me to say something … anything… but I was so confused and flustered.
It was challenging for me to switch back and fourth in English-Italian and now I had to switch from Malay to Italian! You can imagine how jumbled up I must have felt. But after a few tries, I understood the mechanics and got used to it. I just hope that it goes well in the clip later!
We talked about when the carnival started in Viareggio, and how the floats (or carri in Italian) are unique here as they are the biggest ones in the world made out of papier mache.
For me, one of the things that was very memorable of, and which I feel very fortunate of is when we interviewed one of the float makers.
This talented man below is Alessandro Avanzzini who is in charge of his float called, “Moby Duck”.
His inspiration of his float is based on an event in 1992 where a freight ship which was carrying over twenty thousand plastic ducks was shipwrecked. Some of the ducks are still floating around and poses danger to the ecosystem.
According to him, most of his material was recycled from various sources and that it takes about 4 – 6 months for a team to build each float.
From what I remember, it costs about 100 thousand euro, but the prize money would be 1/10th that but each builder is proud to showcase their work that it’s not about the prize but pride of their craftsmanship.
I really like how colourful and cheerful looking the float is! There is also a bubble machine that made it all the more festive. This will last for the two hour carnival.
We then headed to the museum and met up with the director, Marco Antonio Francesconi where he explained to us the history as well as gave us a demonstration of how the floats move.
I found out that floats don’t rely to much on electricity and instead uses pulleys instead to move various parts such as eyes, mouth and head. Each float could have around 10 people – each with their own station.
Lunch break! And a quick picture with the beautiful Seri and Mas. We had an awesome pasta arrabbiata here and took a quick breather. Half a day has passed by, and I already felt like we did so many things already!
After our sumptuous lunch, we went to the area where the smaller displays were housed.
We met up with Daniele Chicca who created this piece called “The American Dream”.
It’s not yet finished in the picture, but there will be eight heads that can be turned around – each one a famous American character. He’ll be carrying his piece at the carnival too, but has to keep it as light as possible as he’ll be carrying it by himself.
Daniele showed us how the papier mache was done. Did you know that the paste is made of just water and flour? Then you tear the newspaper as straight as possible and layer it on the mold, then use a brush to spread the paste and continue till the mold is covered and left to try. That is layer one. There should be at least 5 or 6 layers in total.
Can you imagine how long it takes to make this?
In the late afternoon, we headed back to the canal for dinner. We spied upon this street sign and we were joking at how much it looked like the papier mache brush.
The roads were closed to vehicles, and there were already music and vendors by the street. The atmosphere was so festive.
Even though Fat Tuesday was still several days to come, you could see many people in costumes walking around, celebrating.
This guy is not a real policeman
I saw an angel, some ghouls, I even saw a huge used sanitary pad walking around. I didn’t take a picture of that. No.
All these costumes made us feel inspired so we stopped by a stand and got for ourselves a quick deco. I chose this blue wig as it’s a crazy colour. Maybe I can also wear this for the next anomaly in Vienna 😛
There were a lot of food stalls opened and it was crowded busy. Most of these stalls serve items ranging from pasta to risotto to deep fried food, mostly seafood.
This was what the rest of the crew had. This was the risotto di calamari.
This was the insalata di polpo
I don’t know how it tastes like as I was already on my plant based diet by now. Cart and I had a nice plate of pasta al pomodoro instead.
Here’s Robin, the camera man taking a shot of his dinner.
Here’s Cart posing with my blue wig
And here is Dzul, the director of Ole Ole Temasya posing with bunny ears. He looks so adorable. And we chatted about how he started the series. It was interesting.
So dinner, we headed back to the villa. I was already beat and ready to go to bed. It will be a big day tomorrow with the parade going on. Impressively, when we reached back the crew still had another shot to do and they weren’t done till 11 pm! They have an incredible amount of stamina.
Anyway this is the end of the post for today, watch out for part three soon!