Venice Carnival - a tradition over 700 years old

The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. The carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter, on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks and costumes. In Venice, the first document in which Carnival is officially mentioned as a ' public holiday ' is an edict of the Senate of the Serenissima of 1296 , but as early as 1271 we have news of artisan workshops for the production of masks and manuals on construction techniques. It is in the eighteenth century that the Venice Carnival reaches its maximum splendor, acquiring international resonance throughout Europe .

The disguise is the very essence of the Carnival party, where masks and costumes become indispensable tools to create the climate of this period of the year, dedicated to transgression , lightheartedness, lightness and fun - and a bit of mystery. The streets, the calli then turn into a large stage where everything seems to become possible thanks to the guarantee  of  total anonymity. Among the symbolic masks of the Carnival is the Bauta , a disguise used  exclusively  in Venice, consisting of a  black cloak or tabarro , a  black tricorn  on a  white face. It was worn by both men and women as it ensured complete anonymity. In fact, the particular shape of the mask with the widened and protruding upper lip made it possible to eat and drink without having to remove it, while the space for the nose, very narrow, made it possible to ' mask ' even the voice . Another disguise widely used by women was the one called ' Moretta ', consisting of a velvet mask with a very refined hat and veil. To wear it it was necessary to hold it through a button held in the mouth and this meant that the character could not speak (for this reason it was also called a ' silent servant ').

This year, with Covid and Venice in a phase of lockdown (yellow zone), with international visitors limited, there is an opportunity for residents to reclaim a city where over-tourism has brought with it also negative effects, from pollution to rocketing rents. 

This year, the Venice Carnival Organisers are moving some of the celebrations online, with videos showing Venetians in full carnival regalia. "It's a way of reinvigorating the ties which bind us to the millions of people who love Venice," said Simone Venturini, deputy mayor for tourism.

A stately dance on the Rialto bridge, performed by a group of carnival-lovers in baroque costumes, is among the scenes that have been filmed. The Venice Carnival 2021 during this completely exceptional year, the Venice Carnival enters homes and allows you to experience the "necessary distance" for a party lived in safety.


The streaming appointment from Ca 'Vendramin Calergi, seat of the Venice Casino, is every day starting at 17.00 for about an hour and a half, and lasts until Tuesday 16 February. A roundup of interviews, curiosities and stories about the present and past Carnival that is broadcast live on the Carnival website, on its social channels and on Televenezia (channel 71).

Carnevale literally means “farewell to meat.” Its original purpose was to usher in the sober and meat-free period of Lent. This meant that, prior to giving up rich foods, meat and alcohol, Italians would host a festival to indulge in all these things, throwing lavish costume parties and dressing themselves in beautifully ornate masks and disguises in order to celebrate. So typical foods to enjoy at the Carnivale included fried dolci, fritelle.

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