The Italian Bachelor Party


BardolinoIn June 2016 while at a wine festival on Lake Garda in a town called Bardolino, I witnessed, quite symbolically, a young man taped to a cross, and carrying it around the village as if he were en route to his own crucifixion.  His life was indeed about to end, I discovered, but only as a bachelor.

The man was surrounded by many of his male friends who appeared to be leading the procession, all of whom laughed, drank, and caused interactive scenes with curious passersby.

The cross-bearing man also had a basketball hoop fastened to his head, and numerous hair removal strips attached to his body.

I am not certain the precise rules of the game, but if someone were successful in throwing a small ball into the basketball hoop, one of the man’s friends would i) give him a sip of an alcoholic beverage; ii) rip off one of the hair removal strips; or iii) smack him very hard in the ass.  The event was entertaining to watch.

After inquiring as to the significance of the simulated crucifixion, my local friends confirmed that it was in fact a bachelor party, or in Italian, un addio al celibato.  This particular version of the bachelor party is quite common in Italy.

The general rule is that a groom is tied to a cross by his arms and paraded through the streets carrying the cross on his back.  The meaning of this game is to make it clear to the groom the substantial sacrifices he will have to make as a married man.  However, the significance of the basketball hoop and hair removal strips is still unclear to me.  My guess is that the hoop was added to enhance the interactive nature of the game, and the hair removal feature is a symbol of emasculation.

If anyone has any further insight on the significance of the above bachelor party game, or if anyone knows of a unique version of a bachelor party practiced in Italy, please share.



  1. Marco Paganotto : November 18, 2016 at 11:43 am

    There are actually no rules in this kind of bachelor parties. I personally dislike them, but you have to consider that the friends’ main aim is to ridicule and taunt the man and make fun of him. Then you may see crucified guys and chained ones, half-naked or dressed in a full range of funny ways. The focus is on making him drink as much as he can and drinking along him. Sometimes the night’s gonna end in a strip club, sometimes they just can’t make it reaching the place. But I think the parade you witnessed is a peculiar and modern tradition of the pretty North if not Veneto only.

  2. This is the first time I see that kind of “addio al celibato”. I actually don’t know what really happens in others “addi al celibato”, but, as far as I know, the groom and his male friends just go out for a dinner and/or after-dinner with some striptease shows or whatever funny for them. 🙂 But, this one seems to be very funny!

  3. franco masciarelli : December 8, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I think it was not an “addio al celibato” but simply a “goliardata”, it means jokes that do friends of someone who has just get university graduate. It has ancient origins from medieval age; in many univesity cities there are goliardie.

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