For four Sundays and Shrove Tuesday preceding Lent, this little seaside town produces its world-famous Carnevale, with intricate floats, or carri, representing Italy's most influential celebrities and politicians and sometimes the famous and infamous from around the world. Started in the late 1800s, the Viareggio Carnevale differs from the carnival held in Venice because of its parades of huge and fantastical floats. Traditionally, they were put together by Viareggio's
shipbuilders, and in the beginning the masked celebrants were civil and political protesters, and the floats were, and often still are, used as a vehicle to lampoon popular figures of the day. Other events—music, parties, and art displays—also take place during Carnevale. The crowds are huge, with many attending in costume.