Fat Week

DSC_0177 Today is Fat Tuesday.   There is music and confetti in the streets; people dress up in masks and costumes; and the bakeries are full of fried desserts.  But it doesn’t last just one day.  This is the season of Carnevale.  The word comes from “carne” meaning “meat”  and “vale” meaning “allowed.”  It use to be that Catholics abstained from eating meat during Lent. Carnevale is the period before – where nothing is denied.

The big celebrations started nearly a week ago on Giovedì Grasso (Fat Thursday) with parties and parades.  During the weekend, the festivities culminated as several neighborhoods decorated their streets, set up stages and hosted parties for the city that ran late into the night.

On Friday night, we walked down to Corso Cavour

On Friday, we walked to Corso Cavour where floats were lined up for a late night parade.  Vendors sold horns, confetti, silly string and masks.  There was music and dancing.

We have a group of friends in Perugia who invited us to their 5th-grade class party on Saturday.  All of their children attend the same school, and Signora Paola (our kids’ tutor) is the teacher.  The parents rented a room at the community center, and everyone brought food.  As students and parents entered, they were bombarded with handfuls of confetti by the others.



Tom and Ray didn't want to dress up, but we privately gave them each 10 euros if they obliged, so that we would all fit in a little better.   Ray liked his pirate costume so much that he wore it to school today (for free).

At first, Tom and Ray didn’t want to dress up, but we privately gave them each 10 euros if they obliged.  They thought that sounded like “bad parenting.”  We agreed, but it was worth it. Ray liked his pirate costume so much that he wore it to school today (for free).

We paid Tom an extra euro to wear the wig.

We paid Tom an extra two euros to wear the wig.


For the first couple hours we talked, listened to music, ate platters and platters of food, drank pop and watched the kids dance.  Later in the evening, the parents brought out a karaoke machine.  DSC_0188


The next day there were parades throughout the city.  We could watch from the window of our apartment, but it was more fun to be in the middle of it all. DSC_0108



This morning we bought a little of everything, just in case sweets grow scarse during Lent.  Some of the traditional Carnevale desserts include frappe, brighelle and strufoli.



9 thoughts on “Fat Week

  1. Ray. You look fantastic in the photo. Jill, now you’re talking my kind of parenting. hehe I like the bonus payment for the wig. You all look great. I love you all. Enjoy the fun.

  2. Hi Jill, I have enjoyed so much reading your blog and looking at your stupendous photos of Perugia and environs! I am a dear friend of Cristiano, “The Pasta Man” :), and he alerted me to your blog. I had the amazing opportunity to live in Perugia for a year as well (2009-2010) and it is an experience that changed me forever. Relish this time with your family! You guys are super intelligent to give your children (and yourselves!) this opportunity. More Americans should do the same. Complimenti!

  3. What will we ever do without your blogs Jill? And Sara is right. Looking at Ray’s picture was like opening a family album and seeing you at his age. Tom’s costume is fantastic, especially the cool, color coordinated hat. Seems as though Ray and Tom embrace their capitalistic opportunities while you and Matt shamlessly adopt the Italian form or persuasion. (With great results) XXOO Mom

  4. What a fun and vibrant celebration! And we only get pancakes on Fat Tuesday…! Maybe we should start perking up Carnevale here in Bellevue — shake things up a bit… 😉

  5. Looks like great fun!! Ray and Tom really got into the spirit. Like I have been saying: “The boys will have so many wonderful experiences to relive.”
    Love, Grandpa John

  6. I went to the Via della Viola Carnevale and followed the parade (including the green Monti Monster) through Piazza Matteotti and up to Corso Vannucci. We must have been in the same crowd.

    Just discovered your blog, by the way.

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