Carnival is a much-loved festival for Neapolitans, the city is coloured and joy and merriment are everywhere. The Neapolitan carnival traditions are many and very old, but still respected by all. After all, the city is always in the forefront of defending its history and identity, and these festivals and customs are part of that.

As is often the case, in Naples, celebrating means above all eating. In fact, there are several Neapolitan carnival traditions that are linked to the culinary arts. Let us, however, delve deeper and discover all the Neapolitan customs during this exciting festive period.

What do neapolitans eat in Carnival

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Food in Naples is always a priority, even more so at festivals. Obviously, Carnival also falls under this sacred dogma. The city's carnival culinary tradition is undoubtedly the combination of 'chiacchiere and sanguinaccio'. It is an inseparable pair, there is no one without the other, at least in Naples. The chiacchiere are very famous sweets throughout Italy, although they are called by different names depending on the area. Neapolitan chiacchiere are thin strips of fried dough covered with icing sugar. They can also be baked, but obviously not the same thing!

The other part of the 'pair' is sanguinaccio, a typically Neapolitan dessert. It has a very controversial history, since until thirty years ago it was chocolate cream combined with pig's blood. A religious custom. Now it is just pure chocolate. The other traditional custom is Lasagna eaten on Shrove Tuesday or Shrove Thursday, a historical symbol of community and aggregation.

Carnival in Naples between masks and innovation


Carnival in Naples is certainly not just about food. It may not be that of Rio or Viareggio, but even here it is tradition to put on a show with interesting and amusing costumes. The era of Pulcinella, the most famous and well-known mask associated with the city, looks like totally ended. Nowadays, people follow social trends, whether they are linked to influencers or perhaps to TV series or films.

Famous disguises have been over the years as the Joker and Harley Quinn, just as it was in very recent times for those as Wednesday Addams given the great success of the series. Who knows yet how much the costumes will change over time, this time literally and not in terms of traditions. The only certainty we will always have is the attention we must pay to jokes. It is forbidden to dress 'nice': there is a serious risk of getting dirty because of fun.

The scheduled Carnival events in Naples

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In 2024, Carnival Sunday will be 11 February, with Shrove Thursday falling on the 8th instead. The following Tuesday, therefore the 13th, will be 'Shrove Tuesday', the closing day of the festivity, thus marking the beginning of Lent. In this regard, in Naples and its province there are several very interesting folkloristic events to discover. Dominating them all is the Carnival of Palma Campania, which every year offers a truly unique themed festival. The event is characterised by the presence of the Quadriglie, folklore groups that perform in shows and parades. The festival ends on 17 February.

Also in the province, there is the municipality of Saviano, 2 km from Nola, which hosts the annual Savianese Carnival, a festival strongly characterised by the presence of floats, masks and street performances. The date for this event is already on and has an end date of 13 February. It must be said, however, that there will be other folkloristic events not to be missed until at least 19 March.

Back in the centre of Naples, Monday 5th February sees the return of the much-awaited Ballo a Corte event at the Royal Palace. This is a Carnival 2024 costume show for children and families organised by the Società cooperativa 'Le Nuvole' in collaboration with the Royal Palace of Naples. Passing through the etiquette rooms of the Apartment, participants will arrive amused and with wonder in their eyes at the appointment with the grand ball to the notes of the minuet.