Masked glamour abounds at Venice Carnival
The Venice Carnival is an experience not
to be missed. It is the oldest and most internationally
known festival in Italy. It began in the
15th century, but the tradition can be traced
back to the beginning of the 14th Century.
During those years there was a law that masks
could not be worn around the city at night.
The carnival attracted foreigners, including
royalty, from all over Europe, who came to
enjoy the wild festivities. Much money was
spent on activities such as gambling dens,
brothels, theatres, cafés, wine shops
(licensed and illicit) and restaurants, as
well as booths where one could see exotic
animals, ropewalkers and jugglers.
The streets of Venice Carnival were full
of nobility and commoners in masks, hiding
personal identities and any differentiation
in their upbringing. Generally, the
costume worn was a cloak with a long-nosed
mask but many couples would dress as well-known,
As in the past, Venice comes alive for the
festival, with street-artists and singers
and performers on every street and square.
It is a picture of colour with much of the
tradition of dressing up and wearing masks
remaining. During the 12 day event,
there are parties and dinners, balls in the
Venetian Palaces, operas and musicals, gondola
processions and fireworks.
Thousands gather in Saint Mark's Square
in Venice on Sunday to watch the Flight of
the Angel, one of the highlights of the Carnival.
In the traditional celebration a woman dressed
in a Carnival costume descends from the bell
tower of Saint Mark's Basilica attached
to a wire.
It’s a crazy period in Venice and you
can’t but fail to walk away feeling
that you have lived in a different dimension.