The Grand Carnival of Maiori, history, and tradition since 1971

14th February 2022

Visiting the Amalfi Coast does not only mean discovering unique landscapes and diving into a crystal clear sea. What makes this land even more fascinating are the traditions, handed down from generation to generation and still very much felt by the local population.

Traditions are reflected in the cuisine, in the way of speaking, and also in folkloristic events. Every year, an event that brings together most of the towns on the Coast is the Grand Carnival of Maiori. It's become one of the most important Carnivals in Italy, second only to the ones in Venice and Viareggio.

This Carnival is a perfect opportunity to explore the Amalfi Coast and immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality that have always characterized it.


The origins of Maiori's Carnival

According to tradition, the Carnival of Maiori would have originated from an internal competition with the nearby town of Minori. The latter, in the '60s, used to organize every year a masked themed parade, hosting each time a different city of the Amalfi Coast.

It is said that the year when Maiori was chosen as a special guest, in 1970, they brought on stage a scene from Petronius' Satyricon. However, this representation was not particularly successful among the inhabitants of Minori, who assigned it the third and last place in their classification. The people from Maiori then, dissatisfied, decided to organize their own parade the following year, giving origin to what we know today as Gran Carnevale Maiorese (Great Carnival of Maiori).

 

A significant success on the Coast

At first, this new Carnival had the same characteristics as the one in Minori: a parade of floats with themed sets and masks.

However, after a while, it started to take shape more and more with its own identity, becoming an authentic tradition linked to the local folklore.

It is precisely this aspect that made the Carnival of Maiori known and appreciated throughout the Amalfi Coast.

 

The evolution with the use of papier-mâché

The introduction of papier-mâché for the construction of floats in the '70s marked a real artistic turning point.

Still today, every year, after Christmas, hundreds of citizens turn into papier-mâché masters and dedicate themselves to the realization of the allegorical floats until the Sunday that precedes the first parade. Some mold the iron, creating the characters' skeleton; others recover the paper. Some paint the floats; others take care of the movement mechanism.

Last but not least, there is the rehearsal of the dance groups, who accompany the parade.

 

The Carnival nowadays

Nowadays, the Great Carnival is a tradition very much felt by the inhabitants of Maiori and an occasion of exchange and sharing among the various communities of the surrounding area.

This year, in its 48th edition, the event will take place this spring, from 8 to 15 May. It is the perfect occasion to visit the Amalfi Coast and its beauties. While here, you can't miss the beautiful town of Positano, where you can enjoy a stay on the sea, surrounded by all the comforts that only a hotel like Le Agavi, 5 stars luxury, can offer you. 

POSITANO LIFESTYLE

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