Carnevale di Bagolino

Klop! Klop! Klop! Klop! Klop! Klop! Klop! KLOP!

To my ears it sounded like horseshoes echoing off the cobblestone street but when I turned around to look, what greeted me came as a complete surprise – the hollow sounds were coming from small groups of children walking down the wide lane. The soles of their shoes were made of thick wood. Dressed head-to-toe in black, the girls also had colorful headscarves tied neatly at the nape and wore bright shawls draped over their shoulders. The boys, by comparison, had their faces obscured by grotesque masks.

Bagolino (province of Brescia) is one of those towns that you might never notice if it weren’t for their famous cheese, the bagoss. Tucked away in the Caffaro Valley in what seems like a remote corner of Italy, a stroll through town reveals a place that doesn’t look like it’s been influenced by the modern world. The language – incomprehensible bresciano dialect – left not only myself, but also my husband at a loss.

What first interested me in Bagolino’s carnevale were the violin players. This music in this video is exactly what streamed forth via recorded music from just about every tavern and trattoria that we walked by. The violinists and musicians themselves eventually arrived to perform the tunes to the dancers that stopped at intervals along mainstreet.

About Bagolino’s carnevale: The celebration runs on the last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before Lent. Sunday is usually for the younger dancers, while Monday and Tuesday is reserved for the adults. Even though we were only able to attend on Sunday, the childrens’ costumes closely mirror the elaborate dress of their elders, with the exception of the black and white masks. Various characters make up and add to the festive spirit, in particular the Mascher, who go about playing tricks on visiting spectators.


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