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pubblished in 13-02-2015

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The Suggestive Venice Carnival and its Mysterious Masks

In Italy, every year, takes place a magic event characterized by masks, colours, laughs and people that for only one day pretend to be someone else.

That means that the Carnival is finally arrived. “Carnevale” is an ancient tradition which has origins in pagan festivals. Its name comes from the Latin “carnem levare” (to remove the meat), thus the habit to celebrate this feast during the Christian celebration of Lent and forty days before Easter, when it’s forbidden to eat meat. The carnival celebrations, everywhere in Italy, go on for a couple of weeks and in different ways depending on the city, but with a common element, fun. Carnival is celebrated with parades, masquerade balls and parties, music and food.

Venice Carnival Mask

In Venice takes place the traditional carnival with masks and elaborate costumes, which attracts tourists all over Italy and from all over the world. To visit Venice in this period means taking part in a truly exceptional event. Walking through the streets of Venice means to relieve 18th century magic atmosphere. The official Carnival was born in 1296 when the Senate declared holiday last day of Lent. Nevertheless, over the centuries, the feast was outlawed and the use of masks became strictly forbidden. It reappeared gradually, after a long absence and nowadays it is the most important and famous italian Carnival all over the world. Today, millions of visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival, especially to attend the most important event, “The most beautiful mask”, awarded in the breathtaking scenario of Piazza San Marco.

Venice Carnival Costume

Masks have a fundamental role in Venetian Carnival, they are the symbol of the need to let oneself go. During this period of jokes, freedom, transgression and lust, you can have the illusion of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Made of papier-mâché, hand-painted and decorated with gold leaf, laces or gems they are an extraordinary example of fine handicraft.
Some of the reasons why Venice is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world are its timeless beauty and the mysteries hidden among its calle (the name of the venetian streets), but also for its Carnival. The most famous Venetian masks are Bauta, Colombina, Mattaccino, Bernardone, Medico della peste (The Plague Doctor), Moretta, Pantalone, Arlecchino, Zanni. During these days, the Venetians allowed themselves transgressions of every kind, and the masks were used to maintain anonymity. Thus, over the centuries, the Carnival was banned and the laws that forbade improper use of the masks increased.

Would you like to take part in this unforgettable event? Book a tour with Imago Artis Travel

    Credits Photos

  • Stefano Montagner from flickr
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