Carnival of Mamoiada

18 February 2011 Published in Sardinia Itineraries
Mamoiada masks Mamoiada masks image © Delicious Italy


La Maschera Sardegna Digital Library

One of the most culturally fascinating and geographically blessed celebrations in Italy, the Mamoiada carnival is a hidden gem of Sardinia that puts on an event unlike any other. While you may be visiting the gorgeous island of Sardinia for a vacation getaway, this bucolic village nestled in the heart of the island is located less than two hours from the coast and is well worth the trip if you’re in the area during Carnival.


The town of Mamoiada is rewnowned for its handmade masks, known as either “Mamuthones” or “Issohadores” that are crafted by local artisans each year for Carnival. Although the history of this tradition is eerily shrouded in mystery, it is generally accepted that the Mamuthones represent shepherds and the Issohadores some type of dominators or invaders of the island, perhaps Spanish or Turkish.

The best place to discover the history of these masks is to visit the dedicated museum called Museo delle Maschere Mediterranee in Mamoiada, province of Nuoro -

Regardless of their debated origins, the citizens of Mamoiada vigilantly continue to practice ceremonies unchanged since ancient times. In addition to their black masks, the Mamuthones (left image) drape themselves with approximately 50 pounds of cow bells as they promenade through the streets, while the Issohadores contrast starkly in their colorful outfits and white masks.

Whether you’re interested in the culture and scenery of Sardinia or are simply looking to escape the frenzied crowds of Venice, the bewitching Carnival of Mamoiada is one of the better kept secrets this time of year in Italy.

Thanks to the Sardegna Digital Library for providing a video. Check out others at:

Carnival of Maoiada