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Trieste Province


The only town on the Istrian peninsula to remain within the Italian border, Muggia has a distinct Slavic air, as well as a noticeable Venetian character. The harbor, backed by pastel houses, retains the atmosphere of an old-world fishing port. The central focus of Piazza Marconi is the Duomo’s Venetian-Gothic trilobed façade. On the orange and yellow Palazzo dei Rettori, the stone relief of the winged lion of Saint Mark—symbol of the Venetian Republic—reveals a clue to Muggia’s long tradition of humor and satire. Look closely at the lion’s face—the sense of disgust is apparent as he sticks out his tongue at the town’s former rulers.

Carnevale Muggesano

Unlike the famous Carnevale di Venezia, Muggia’s Carnevale Muggesano does not evoke images of elegant baroque palaces, courtesans waltzing to Vivaldi at a masked ball, or mysterious caped figures drifting past the shadows of the Grand Canal. Instead, Muggia celebrates the absurd and bizarre with townspeople dressed as cartoon characters, farm animals, or even platters of food. Among the whimsical costumes, however, you will rarely see a masked face. Contrary to the practice of most Carnevale celebrations where anonymity is sacred, the people of Muggia have chosen to expose their individual character. This comes as a natural response in a town that has struggled to assert its identity in the face of domination by so many foreign cultures.

A full week of festivities opens with the “Dance of the Vegetables,” when representatives of each group perform for the public. This is followed by the megafrittata, a culinary ritual that begins with townspeople traipsing door to door begging for eggs. The eggs are then used to make what is possibly the world’s largest frittata, cooked in a giant thirteen-foot-wide frying pan. For dessert, frittelle (doughnuts) and crostoli (crispy fritters) are the traditional Carnevale sweets. On Ash Wednesday, to mark the final day of the celebration, the groups perform a tragicomedy ritual. Following a solemn funeral procession, townspeople throw a lifelike “corpse” of the Carnevale king into the sea.