Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio: Live Sissi’s times Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio: Live Sissi’s times


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Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio: Live Sissi’s times

A tradition that draws life, inspiration and form from the Habsburg court

Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio: Live Sissi’s times

Cristina & Fausto

There is certainly no shortage of famous Carnival celebrations in Italy and around the world. However, there is a place where Carnival is unlike any other: we are talking about the Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio, a tradition in its own right that draws life, inspiration and form from the Habsburg court of Emperor Franz Joseph and Princess Sissi.


Why is this distant era reenacted in Madonna di Campiglio during carnival week? What are the key events of this typical Val Rendena celebration?


The history of the Habsburg Carnival in Madonna di Campiglio


Sissi, or Elizabeth of Bavaria, is certainly one of the best known and most beloved princesses of all times. The beautiful Princess of Wittelsbach became Empress of Austria by marrying Franz Joseph I of Austria, whose reign lasted almost 70 years. Well, it so happens that Sissi and Franz Joseph chose the Brenta Dolomites and Madonna di Campiglio more than once as their holiday destination. Their first stay in our village took place in September 1889, and the second visit was 5 years later.


Sissi loved the mountains, and in particular the landscape of the Dolomites. In fact, she said that “on the highest and most solitary peaks I can breathe freely, while others would feel lost”. The choice of Madonna di Campiglio as a holiday destination for the court is not surprising, even less so knowing that at the time the town was renamed by the Habsburgs as “the pearl of the Dolomites”.


During the stay of the Habsburg court, Madonna di Campiglio hosted a succession of concerts and masked balls, the glories of an empire at its peak. The Habsburg Carnival of Madonna di Campiglio aims to reenact those years, bringing the court of Vienna back to the streets and squares of the town center.


Carnival Events in Madonna di Campiglio


Austro-Hungarian flags start to make their appearance in squares, on hotels, buildings and villas. Dances and parades are organized, while elegant horse-drawn carriages horses travel through the streets, carrying gentlemen and ladies in sumptuous nineteenth-century dresses. During carnival week, the rhythm that gives life to Madonna di Campiglio is the harmonious and romantic one of the waltz.


Habsburg Carnival typically starts with the arrival of the Court - the highlight is the arrival of the carriage with Emperor Franz Joseph and the protagonist of the celebrations, Princess Sissi. The heart of the event is the Hofer Hall, the Habsburg party hall, named after the paintings of Gottfried Hofer on its walls, where tea and pastries are served together with the princess.


There is also no shortage of events for children, themed aperitivi in venues around Madonna di Campiglio, or even spectacular skiing in Habsburg costume together with the royal couple and the court. Every year, the Madonna di Campiglio Carnival ends with the Emperor's Grand Ball, a ball in period costume in the spaces of the Hofer Hall.


Are you looking for a unique, ancient Carnival? We’ll be waiting for you in February in Madonna di Campiglio!


Foto credits: ApT Campigliodolomiti - Bisti Paolo

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