Venice: the ultimate party, Carnival!

Carnival in New Orleans is NOTHING like the

 bad ass party that is Carnival in Venice!

I may never be able to attend Carnival but I can dream …………….
Now that I know there are parties, dances, special events and the pomp of parading in costumes……it has long been my theory that people act differently with the anonymity of a mask.

I have used the information my Venice contacts have shared, foot notes include all the sources but my conclusions are my own….

2014 Carnival highlights:
Friday 14th February: Prologue, Valentine’s Day
Saturday 15th February: Opening of the Venetian Festival with a show, Cannaregio
Sunday 16th February: Boat pageant – Grand Canal – Cannaregio
Sunday 23rd February: Flight of the Angel
Saturday 1st March: Float parade, Marghera
Sunday 2nd March: Flight of the Eagle and Flight of the Donkey, Mestre
Monday 3rd March: Carnival Culture Night
Tuesday 4th March: Flight of the Lion, Silent Water Parade, the Great Fire
From 22nd February to 4th March: Best Masked Costume contest and musical evenings

As usual, I have questions and as usual who do you ask?

see   for many answers that I found bellow

1.  Where do the design ideas for masks originateMascherari, mask makers, craft the unusual ‘face’ ware from leather, porcelain or a glass technique.    As I visited a mask maker on one of the many side streets in Venice, I saw a coating resembling lacquer applied.  Finished samples were hand painted, with gold leaf, feathers or gems.  I am sure the artist had hundreds of ‘touristi’ visit and was too busy to chat.     The working shops are different that those that displayed finished masks.  on my next visit I shall ask Monica (my authority in Venice) to perhaps take me to the oldest workroom in Venice.

My theory that ‘you can hide behind a mask’ was supported by some additional history.    People of all stations in life could wear a mask and “pretend to be someone else”.  Hmm  sounds like today’s makeup.    Particular styles of masks were worn by different  occupations.  There is a fascinating list of mask designs and properties on Wikipedia, from the ‘Plague doctor” to “Bauta” to Panalone and others.

2,  Shove Tuesday:    This is new to me, I have not heard of this before.     Shove Tuesday, an unusual event occurs, in Saint Marks Square, dating from the 1500’s  an acrobat traveled on a rope from the bell tower in St Marks Square.  After an accident a live performer was replaced but a live performer has since returned.    What a dramatic site to witness.  Massive crowds in the square and a small figure in the distance is essentially zip lining.

 3.  The Balls:    Carnival was only re established in Venice in 1979!  In the 18th century the events began with a series of balls in St Marks Square.     Question:  who is invited to the private balls?  The public balls just require a ticket and a costume.

4.The costumes:  Who wouldn’t want to dress in a lavish gown possibly with beads, fur trip or even feathers.  To parade around to be admired and even photographed by a mob of photographers.   The cost and time required to create an ensamble must be staggering.   I shall do another post on the oldest costume salon in Venice.      Question:  If you do not rent a costume, are creations used year after year?  Are they handed down to other attendees?   Just the cleaning and storing of these massive pieces must be staggering.

5.  The parades:  Gondola and boat parades along the grand canal, Mask parades in St Mark’s Square are capped off by a grand fireworks display on the final day to end the carnival.    On Saturday and Sunday (this year) for the start of Carnival, the water parade will sail along the Grand Canal where I expect the crowds will line the waters edge and from all the buildings.

 Each year a theme is selected for the events during Carnivale.  From the official web site this year is:  fairy tales, marvels and fantastic natures.  Perhaps costume ideas will come from the woods, the valleys, the seas, the mountains, the lagoons and the mysterious animal and vegetable creatures…………  leave a lot of possibilities from a hobbit to a giant carrot.

 6.  Food:   There will be a list of foods only made for carnival and the recipes complements of Monica.  Frittelle may top my list of favorites. 

I have asked for updates from Venice and shall share them with you for the next 2 weeks.
Photos by Monica Casarato
Wikipedia:  Carnival of Venice
About Italy Travel:  where to Celebrate Carnevale in Italy

Take me to Carnevale!

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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