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One-Upmanship: witness a Tuscany rustic custom


In pursuit of the annual ‘Carnival Cup’, the little Tuscany town of Foiano della Chiana dusts off its centuries-old competitive spirit and splits into four rival ‘shipyards’.

A single, vast workshop houses four segments, in which each yard assembles its float. For this 473rd carnival, on every Sunday in February 2012, one of the entries will take its turn parading through Foiano’s tiny streets, to rapturous public reception.

The rivalry isn’t based on professional background, history or district, just on friendly competition between members of this energetically creative population. The results are amazing.

Even before the floats emerge, the atmosphere is alive with bands of musicians, drummers and accompanying dancers, together with teams of characters in enormous head-dresses, setting the theme for each yard’s entry.

Elaborately-costumed children caper in formation around the floats. On board, gigantic dragons and eerily lifelike towering human figures are brilliantly engineered to gesture and lunge suddenly forward and sideways, surprising the crowds.

The tone is often darkly comic, with mythology and modern culture represented. The year’s effort and imagination invested in these rolling works of art, enjoys brief but wholehearted recognition. On the final Sunday, the Carnival Cup is awarded to the jury’s favourite.

The town’s recent past and the year in prospect are the subject of a humorous speech, before Giacondo, spirit of the carnival, made from straw and rags, is burned for all the townspeople’s purification.

Quality Villas Italy can provide comfortable Tuscany holiday villas for visitors wishing to stay in the area for this atmospheric event.

More information about the Foiano della Chiana carnival can be found at http://www.carnevaledifoiano.it/.

About Quality Villas
Quality Villas is a family run UK based villa rental specialist that is proud of their helpful, knowledgeable team and their personal service that larger companies cannot match.

All the rental properties in their portfolio are personally chosen and inspected, and all come with a private pool (unless on the beach) and a team of staff to make the client’s stay relaxing and hassle free. The reservations team personally knows each property and its location and are therefore able to advise in detail about any villa and the nearby towns and villages.

Quality Villas have been operating since 1986 and offer luxury holiday rentals in France, Italy and Morocco.


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