Last Updated on June 8, 2021 by Helga Dosa
Venice Carnival is one of the most popular in the world. For a whole week, the city turns into a masked ball. People all over the city are dressed up in sumptuous clothes, moreover, the beautiful palaces that stand out on the water make the atmosphere even more enchanting. Visitors feel like in a fairytale.
Are you still not sure Venice Italy Carnival is worth a visit? Let’s find out why Venice Carnival is so unique and why you should not miss the opportunity to enjoy the festival if you are planning a day trip to Venice.
Venice Carnival: the origin
The official event of Venice Carnival begins in 1296, however, the meaning of this festival comes from a reinterpretation of ancient Greek and Roman festivals. Firstly from the Saturnalia of ancient Rome, during which slaves and free citizens celebrated with music and crazy dances. Furthermore, the origin also derives from the Greek Dionysian cults: large religious holidays with theatrical performances with masks. During the Carnival the masks guaranteed total anonymity, moreover, they nullified social divisions. The festival canceled tensions and discontent among the poorest classes.
The Carnival of Venice lasts eleven days: from the Saturday before Shrove Thursday until Shrove Tuesday. Some important traditions have remained, such as:
The Feast of the Marys:
It is a parade on the first Saturday of the Carnival with the twelve Marys, flag-wavers, musicians, and bridesmaids, all heading towards Piazza San Marco. The most beautiful one becomes the “Mary of the year” and wins a prize
The Flight of the Angel:
It is held on the first Sunday of the Carnival. A mechanical bird from the Campanile di San Marco used to fly down to the Doge’s Palace. It dropped confetti and candy onto the crowd. In 2001, a harnessed woman replaced the Colombina.
Venice is the city of masks, in fact, in the past, people used them during Carnival, but also on other occasions. Men wore them when they did not want to be recognized in the most uncomfortable situations. Women also wore them for beauty. On the way, you can buy yourself a mask to get into the party mood.
A masked day in Venice
A day trip to Venice during the Carnival season is something you should definitely do if you’re up for a really special experience! In the streets, tourists can find traveling theaters, playful mysterious people wearing Venice Carnival masks, and marvelous Venice carnival costumes. The unique atmosphere will make you want to be part of the celebration. You can buy a mask along the way or get your face painted by a street artist.
The festival in Venice lasts about three weeks and the calendar is full of events. If you have one day to spend in Venice, just start by purchasing your mask. Then you can wander around the city just looking at the beautiful costumes, representations and enjoy the unique atmosphere.
You can search among the organized events to find exclusive parties to experience the real Venice Carnival spirit. Usually the squares there are concerts and people gather together to dance and drink. There are also many cultural events like art exhibitions, workshops, and also international guests participate in the cultural program.
Don’t forget to drink your aperitif while having the traditional Venetian “cicchetti” at a bacaro (the typical Venetian tavern) by the water. You can even play to spot famous Italian masks like Pulcinella, the Neapolitan mask with a white costume, and a hooked nose.
Living in a fairytale
Experience Carnival for a day will be amazing, however, if you’re planning to stay for longer than a day, there’s much more to discover in the city. It is worth attending the festival l at least once in a lifetime, to see Venice carnival masks and costumes and watch the city becoming a live show for few days, before going back to our normal lives.