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
Places we've gone, things we've seen, stories worth telling