Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Varese, Gallarate, Busto Arsizio > Blog > The secrets of the Bosino Carnival

The secrets of the Bosino Carnival

This year the public Carnival celebrations have been canceled. But the Bosina tradition is more alive than ever

In many parts of Italy the Carnival is celebrated with masks and characteristic events. Varese also has its traditions, inextricably linked to its history.

For decades, the Bosino Carnival has been celebrated in the Garden City, organized by the Bosina family, an association founded after the Second World War to enhance the local dialect, customs and stories, whose name is inspired by the name with which the people of Varese have always been called: bosini, in fact.


Like many cities, even in Varese the Carnival is a very heartfelt holiday. Already in the sixteenth century, during the lordship of Francesco d'Este, the Carnival was celebrated with large square parties. In the nineteenth century the custom of masked processions developed.

Year after year, the myth of King Bosino was born, a key figure in the Varese Carnival, to whom the mayor gives the keys to the city for seven days. King Bosino thus governs Varese in these days of celebration, being able to deliberate curious laws that - unfortunately or fortunately - have a short life: the time of a Carnival. His regency ends on Shrove Saturday, when after leading the procession of masked wagons escorted by two white horses, he recites the final speech, strictly in dialect.

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King Bosino proclaimed during the Varese Carnival in 2019

Source: prealpina.it

But King Bosino is not the only figure linked to the Varese Carnival. If in Venice they have Colombina, in Rome Rugantino, in Naples Pulcinella and in Turin Gianduja, here in Varese everyone knows the traditional mask of Pin Girometta. Its invention is due to Giuseppe Talamoni, who in the 1950s was inspired by a wanderer of the valleys who spent his days selling the girometta, that is a lucky doll mixed with water and flour and surmounted by a colorful hen's feather.

How to recognize the Girometta Pin? His costume is an iconographic summary of the territory: white and red striped socks (like the coat of arms of Varese), blue trousers (in memory of the many lakes in the province), green jacket (to remember the city gardens), brown cloak ( the mountains overlooking the valley) and a large hat, to defend themselves from the sun that shines on the province.


But let's go back to the girometta, whose origins date back to the early nineteenth century, when the Varese area passed from French to Austrian dominion.

The girometta, in its stylized form, is nothing more than a good-natured mockery of the French soldiers, and so is the name, which derives from the distortion of “girolamit” or the defeated leader Gerolamo Bonaparte.

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Subsequently, the girometta began to be sold as a souvenir at the Sacro Monte, gradually gaining further embellishments, such as pieces of colored paper applied to the body or graceful stones to form eyes and mouth.

To make a girometta as it should be at home, just mix ½ kg of white flour (for desserts) with 2 glasses of cold water, and carefully follow the original procedure before putting it in the oven for about twenty minutes.


This year Shrove Thursday will fall on February 11, while Shrove Tuesday will fall on February 16. Varese also celebrates the Ambrosian Carnival, which ends with Fat Saturday, which this year will be February 20.

Unfortunately, all the events were cancelled, due to force majeure, including the parade of allegorical floats in which the folk groups of the city districts and neighboring villages participate. However, this does not mean that the traditional masks of Varese cannot be remembered.

During the Bosino Carnival everything is possible, but there is no need to ask the king of the party for the grace to find the house of one's dreams. For this it is enough to go to our real estate agency Engel & Völkers to scroll through the houses for sale in the centre of Varese most interesting of the moment.

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