Winter farmer's markets are hard to come by, so I was pumped to find the Coventry market, at the Coventry High School on Sundays from 11-2. With plenty of fresh local produce, cheese, baked goods, preserves, and tea; as well as handmade jewelry and pottery, the market is a breath of fresh air in the dead of winter. There were also local handmade soaps and wildflower honey and maple syrup. Don't miss the Coventry Winter Farmer's Market before it closes in March.
I was fortunate enough to be in Venice during their Carnevale celebration. Carnevale is usually held 40 days before Easter to celebrate Mardi Gras across Italy (and other countries). Cities hold large parades and parties with amazing food and dancing to commemorate the Pagan holiday and have a final celebration before the beginning of Lent.
Go Italy describes Carnevale as;
Carnevale in Italy is a huge winter festival celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Children throw confetti at each other.
The most iconic celebration is in Venice, where masked participants wander the streets and the Piazza San Marco in elaborate costumes. They put on comedy shows and pose for pictures with locals and tourists alike. If you’ve seen any pictures of Carnevale, they’re likely from Venice.
Masks are a very important aspect of Carnevale in Venice. They are sold in nearly every shop and street kiosk, and range from 2€ to over 100€ depending on how elaborate the mask. Types of masks include the Bauta, Colombina, Medico della peste, Moretta, Volto, Pantalone, Arlecchino, and Zanni. Many are hand painted, and many people choose to pair them with different hats or head pieces.
Walking through Venice, especially the Piazza San Marco, during Carnevale was incredible. So many people dressed up in full and elaborate costumes with beautiful masks. In general, a lot of people wore masks, even if they didn’t dress up. It was incredible to see the amount of effort people put into their costumes, and it felt like walking back in time as many of the costumes were very traditional.
As I was only in Venice for one day, I would very much like to visit again. Carnevale was an incredible experience, but I think seeing Venice outside of the festivities would be beautiful too as it is such a unique city.
NOTE: All images were taken by me in Venice on February 6, 2016. No distribution or infringement of the characters photographed intended
I thought it was appropriate to spotlight We Are Here Venice (and other Venice-based activism groups) while I am in the city. We Are Here Venice is a campaign to save the city from the damaging tourism industry (which so many of us, including me, are guilty of) and coastal damage and pollution. The surrounding lagoon’s ecosystem is compromised by negligent boating and water pollution, but this isn’t the only problem the small city is facing according to Venice the Future. More Venetians are leaving the city, leaving a dwindling native population to make room for a more demanding tourism industry.
The managing director of We Are Here Venice, Jane Da Mosto, moved to the city in 1995 after growing up in South Africa and London. According to Mosto:
“Working on my book opened my eyes and made me more concerned for the future of the city [Venice]. When you analyse it in detail, you realise how much isn't functioning properly. Take the lagoon. The presence of deep navigational channels for tankers and cruise ships has caused strong currents that wash away vital sediments. Huge tracts of salt marsh are disappearing very fast. And it's impossible to remain oblivious to the impact of tourism and the precipitous reduction in permanent residents. One month you go and visit someone in their office here and the next, you find they have moved to the mainland.” (You can read more here).
According to Da Mosto and other activists, Venice is facing many problems that go relatively unnoticed by the larger population as a result of increased tourism and industrialization. Many organizations have formed in response to this crisis to protect Venetian culture, history, and art. For instance, Save Venice is one of these organizations. With a focus on Venetian art, Save Venice funds many restoration projects to preserve the city’s treasures. The work of groups like We Are Here Venice and Save Venice are important in protecting Venice from its current obstacles.
Remember that if you are visiting Venice, be respectful. According to the International Business Times:
“Venice welcomes millions of tourists every year, and on any given day in the summer its residents are outnumbered by visitors. With few industrial opportunities existing in the island city, tourism has long been one of its main sources of income. Most of the revenue there is booked through hotels, museums, restaurants and tours. However, as tourists increasingly exhibit bad behavior -- sleeping on bridges, swimming in canals and tagging churches with graffiti -- some Venetians fear the visitors who keep their city alive could also be slowly destroying its culture and history.
You can read more about the problems facing Venice through We Are Here Venice and Venice in Peril.
Places we've gone, things we've seen, stories worth telling