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Venice Carnival

February/March – The Carnival of Venice is one of the most spectacular events ever. One of the city’s core traditions that has made Venice more and more famous over the centuries. If you play with your imagination you can already picture yourself celebrating Carnival in one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world, right?

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The Carnival of Venice

was first recorded in the second half of the 13th century, and ever since it has come to represent a celebration of freedom from the roles imposed by society, restraint, inhibitions, and social influence. But have you ever wondered how Carnival was born? And which is the original meaning of this event?

The Origins of Venice Carnival

The first hints about Carnival are pretty ancient and date back to 1094, when the Doge Vitale Falier used the term Carnival in a document to refer to public celebrations. In 1296, an edict declared Carnival to be a public holiday, as the Senate of the Republic decreed the day before Lent a non-working day. It is a common opinion that this period of celebrations was born to let the Venetians, especially those of the lower classes, have a period to unload widespread discontent and tensions.

The Masks

And it was exactly this need that opened the doors to the tradition - still fully alive - of wearing a mask. Masks and costumes enabled people to stay anonymous and brought a sort of social and religious leveling among Venetians. Carnival was therefore lived as a thoughtless time, that gave people freedom to be and do what they wished. Since then, the city became a stage where everyone plays the desired role, regardless of slander, differences and criticism. The first news about costume and mask manufacture, one of Venice’s landmarks, dates back already to 1271.

What to do in Venice during Carnival

If you are in Venice during the Carnival time, you won’t help but notice how vibrant and festive the city is, every day and all day long. You will bump into people wearing masks at almost every corner and you will often stop to take a picture of the prettiest costumes, usually with rich and detailed decorations. Yet there are some yearly events you can’t miss. First of all, the Volo dell’Angelo (lit. The Angel’s Flight), where a girl "flies" from the bell tower of San Marco, all dressed in white. Another remarkable event is the Festa sull'Acqua (lit. Celebration on the Water), where small decorated boats parade from Punta della Dogana to Rio Cannaregio. We also recommend the Festa delle Marie, a parade in historical Venetian costumes in which, traditionally, the winner will do the Volo dell’Angelo the following year.

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Events in Venice