Carnival in Venice
We look forward to Venice Carnival every year!
The annual feast before Lent has been celebrated off and on for centuries in Venice, with a major resurgence in the past few decades. It culminates in the beautiful setting of a historic palazzo on the Grand Canal. In addition to the ball and its preparations, the group will enjoy private visits to St. Mark’s Basilica, an ancient weaving atelier and other historic sites. By the end of the trip, travelers will have experienced the art, food and history of the Venice lagoon when the city is at its most vibrant.
The Masks Were Originally A Way to Hide Your Naughty Behavior
Did you know that in the 18th century Venetians used to wear the full-face black velvet masks at “houses of ill repute” – such as gambling parlours – to hide the identity of their owners? This meant that people could engage in frowned upon behaviors while staying anonymous.
Masks also created the opportunity for an equality that didn’t exist within society. When you were wearing a mask you could be rich or poor, a man or a woman, a Christian or a Jew and no one would know. Everyone was treated the same and would be able to take part in the revelry.
Carnival Hasn’t Been Celebrated Non-Stop Since it was Created
The Carnival celebrations were starting to wane in the 18th century and when the Austrian government conquered Venice in 1798 the practice of wearing masks and celebrating Carnevale were almost completely obsolete. When Mussolini was in power in the 1930s, he banned the celebrations completely.
It wasn’t until 1979 when a group of artisans from Venice got together and decided to restart the festival. They thought that the beautiful masks and costumes and the elaborate parties would be enjoyed by both locals and tourists to Venice. They were right and the festival has be the same time very year.
The Venice Carnival is the most internationally known festival celebrated in Venice, Italy, as well as being one of the oldest. This congregation of masked people, called Venice Carnival, began in the 15th century, but the tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th Century.
During those years one of the first laws made by the Serenissima was that masks cannot be used around the city at night.
Later, Venice Carnival attracted foreigners – including princes – from all over Europe, who came to enjoy the wild festivities while spending fortunes.
During the Carnival period Venice offered numerous possibilities for spending money. The choices were various, with 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, rope walkers and jugglers.
It’s a great time and a must for any bucket list!