Tradition and folklore since 1971

Unforgettable memories, torn between popular spirit and "revolutionary" ideas.

The Grand Carnival of Maiori

The first edition of the Grand Carnival of Maiori, to call it by its full name, has quite unique origins and was officially born in 1971 but the premises for it were created a year earlier. In fact, in 1970, for the 3rd edition of the Carnival of Minori, the Nuova Naiade di Maiori group had been invited to participate on a traveling stage entitled "Satyricon".

The Satyricon depicted, between columns and veils, was a banquet set in ancient Rome with more than fifteen figures in tunic and shoes. The scene was very funny but also very realistic, thanks to the songs which were written for the occasion and to the fact that everything on the stage was real: food, drinks and hedonistic behaviour.

The following year, the Grand Carnival of Maiori was born and it was immediately a big success with 10 different groups competing. The initial intent of the GCM was to involve all the towns on the coast, from Cetara to Tramonti, from Atrani to Amalfi. An enterprise that was successful at the first attempt, so much so that, after a few years, this event was already registering tens of thousands of spectators, soon becoming an important reference point for the region.

UInitially, we had "skits" instead of proper Carnival floats; these were accompanied by scenic representations and choreographies. Some of the most unforgettable ones are: 

- “The Ring: Benvenuti vs. Monzon”
- “Hawaii” ;
- “Inferno”
- “Moulin Rouge”;
- “Ulisse' journey”.

- “The Thousand and One Nights”;
- “Brancaleone at the Crusades“ with the real costumes from Mario Monicelli’s movie;

The "popular" spirit, folklore and tradition were the main characteristics of the first editions of the Carnival which soon became a well-known event. But before that, the GCM was a village party. The locals enjoyed themselves and entertained the visitors. An example is “the cuppini” (ladle in English, mestolo in Italian) which is the slang word for the huge dinners organized at the end of each working day by the various groups during the floats’ preparation.

This popular and festive essence led the observers of the Putignano Carnival to visit the GCM between the 70s and 80s , attracted by the idea of being able to reproduce that warm atmosphere for their famous Carnival. Once its personal “format” had been consolidated, the GCM slowly began to evolve. From the mid-1970s , iron and papier-mâché were used to create floats, always based on refined ideas and strong social messages and thanks to the presence of excellent craftsmen in the area it didn't take long to reach the highest standards.

From the end of the 70s the aesthetically improved floats, began to take on an increasingly central role within the event. Up to this point, however, much of the success and fame of the GCM was due to the imagination and originality with which each group approached the most important issues. In fact, many of the floats built in the 70s or 80s could have been imagined today.

- 1973: a year of trouble (1974, about the problem of cholera in Campania);
- China Advances (1975);
- I was born, but you were not (1976, about the abortion law);
- My friend the Earth (1984).

Another distinctive feature of the first decades of the GCM was the presence of live music with local musical groups that performed on the allegorical floats.

Another distinctive feature of the first decades of the GCM was the presence of live music with local musical groups that performed on the allegorical floats. We can say that the main ingredients of the GCM were:

- the popular spirit (which also means involvement of the public which is no longer just a spectator but an integral and fundamental part of the parade)

- music (with original songs and live performances)

- a fantastic organization, with original and refined ideas (folk groups from all over the world were invited, for example groups from Belgium, Spain, Brazil, etc ).

Therefore, The GCM wasn’t just a “parade of floats” like we see it today, but a calendar of events. Actually, the two main events were "Breaking the pot", which used to open the Carnival, and the "Children Fancy dress competition".
Today the Parade of the Floats has reached levels of absolute excellence: the artisans have definitely mastered their skills and technique of molding iron and papier-mâché.

The GCM is one of the oldest in the Region and certainly the one with the strongest and deepest soul. To date, the GCM, which has reached its 48th edition, remains an important point of reference for other local events and festivals and it counts on the constant presence of groups from neighboring towns such as Tramonti, Minori and Amalfi. 

Domenico Di Bianco

Author of the newspaper article  - Year 2019

Groups for decade

. 1972 - L'Africa Avanza   
. 1973 - Moulin Rouge  
. 1973 - I Pazzi 1973
. 1974 - Tango del Mare a Maiori
. 1975 - La Cina Avanza 
. 1979 - Portobello

. 1980 - Cicciotella alle Olimpiadi  
. 1982 - La Lampada dei Desideri 
. 1983 - Il Favoloso Mondo di Walt Disney 
. 1984 - Amica Terra  
. 1987 - La Corsa allo Scudetto 
. 1988 - La Bella Addormentata nel Bosco 

. 1993 - Attenti al Lupo 
. 1995 - Bucce di Banana 
. 1996 - Arriba Arriba Fantasia
. 1997 -  E… Anche Quest’anno è Carnevale  
. 1997 - La Carica dei 101 
. 1999 - Il Lotto alle Otto 

. 2000 - Il Paese dei Balocchi
. 2003 - Dribbla la Notizia  
. 2004 - Il Ritorno del Re Carnevale  
. 2005 - Barcollo Ma Non Mollo
. 2006 - E' Sempre la Stessa Storia
. 2007 - Kentauros 

Grand Carnival of Maiori

Amalfi Coast

Contacts

+ (39) 389 672 9968
Maiori, 84010 (SA)

From 8 May to 15 May 2022