Hidden treasures

The Carnival of Sappada in the Dolomites

Local Traditions
rollate-sappada

The Carnival of Sappada in the Dolomites

When it comes to carnival, everyone immediately thinks of Venice… But in the Veneto region there are many other Carnival events with roots in local folklore.

A great example is the Carnival of Sappada, where Rollate is protagonist: a masked character wearing heavy dark sheepskin fur with a large hood that completely wraps up the head, adorned with a tuft of red wool. The face is covered with a mask made from wood that alters the voice of the wearer, with a stern look and dark thick moustache and eyebrows.

It takes its name from ‘rolln’, noisy bells in the shape of metal spheres that are tied at the waist of the masked character with a chain and are rung as it walks along.

In the past, the Rollate mask carried negative connotations, and it is said that dressing up as Rollate was an opportunity to avenge injuries suffered and dispel old grudges. At that time, during celebrations, the Rollate masks were preceded by clowns (pajazn) who wore colourful outfits with a cone-shaped hat and would hop around them. After the clowns disappeared, Rollate took over their role in entertaining children.

In the past, as a rule, Carnival was forbidden for children and was a ritual reserved for adults only: if the kids got too close to the masked figures, they would get frightened and chased! In Sappada not only weren’t they allowed to wear masks and join the carnival alongside adults, but they were also threatened by the masks.

The Rollate, in particular, had the specific task of threatening and frightening children who, when they heard the sound of rolln approaching threateningly, ran up to the top floor of their houses or, terrified, looked for safe spaces.

If you want to participate in the lively carnival of Sappada just book your transfer online! We will take you to the heart of the Dolomites to let you take part in one of the oldest and most festive local events!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Padua: Jacopo Marcello, the Captain who shouldn’t have died

ca-marcello
Big Names

Ca’ Marcello in Piombino Dese, Italy is a beautiful eighteenth-century Venetian villa still inhabited today by the Marcello Counts, a...

View

Venice: What’s the traditional Redentore food?

sarde-saor
Local Traditions

The number one traditional celebration, celebrated every year the third weekend of July, Redentore gives thanks for the end of the terr...

View

Venice: The village of Dolo and its inhabitants

Dolo
Figures of speech

In the province of Venice there is a small village, Dolo, which doesn’t have a great reputation... The dialect expression ‘Ma te vi...

View

Venice: The crypt of the church of San Simeone Piccolo

san-simeone-piccolo-venezia
Unknown places & works

As soon as you leave the train station in Venice, you will see the imposing dome of the church of San Simeone Piccolo, renovated in the...

View

Top posts

Padua: Prato della Valle in Padua

prato-della-valle
Historical Curiosities

Probably only the inhabitants of Padua and a few other people know of a particular record their city is boasting about: having the larg...

View

Treviso: Castelbrando in Cison di Valmarino

castelbrando
Unknown places & works

The province of Treviso offers its visitors many places steeped in history and imbued with charm ... One of these is definitely Castelb...

View

Venice: The tomb of Antonio Canova in the Frari Cathedral in Venice

Tomba_Canova
Mysteries & Legends

When visiting the splendid Frari Cathedral in Venice a pyramid can be seen in front of the church… Why is such a ...

View

Venice: The Empress Sissi in Venice

Sissi
Big Names

The Empress Sissi (1837-18989), the wife of Austria Emperor Francesco Giuseppe of Habsburg, has remained in the collective imagination ...

View