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The historical Carnival of San Giovanni in Persiceto started in February 1874. Like any self-respecting Carnival, that of San Giovanni in Persiceto also has its own mask, Bertoldo, a farmer “with big shoes and a sharp wit” created by a local writer Giulio Cesare Croce, which has become a symbol of playfulness, good humour and good food. “King Bertoldo” opens the carnival every year by reading the speech of the Crown, a dialectical composition written in Piazza del Popolo.

Visitors to the Carnival of San Giovanni in Persiceto can experience a unique show, the “Spillo” (“al spéll” in dialect) which means to transfigure; to transform. When the floats reach Piazza del Popolo, they transform into something different, telling a story and revealing the reason why it was built to the public and to a jury. On the Sunday following the parade, the jury, made up of three experts, issues verdicts on the architecture, painting, sculpture, subject and performance. It draws up a ranking to establish who wins the banner that will be kept by the winning contestant until the next Carnival.

Finally, the following Monday, the carnival contestants gather for the “Monday trial”, during which the judges explain their votes to the carnival workers.

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Piazza del Popolo - San Giovanni in Persiceto