A Tale of Two Carnivale Celebrations – Part 2

Carnivale in Venice

I have always wanted to visit Venice during Carnivale, and we finally had the opportunity to do so. It was quite a spectacle. I’m so glad I had already been to Venice a couple times before, because in some ways the carnivale celebrations were distracting from the city itself. St. Mark’s square, the main piazza in town was completely transformed into a grandstand area for the costume competitions and other events. People who come to carnivale and really dress up for the occasion, though, are more than willing to walk throughout the city all day, and just pose for pictures. The costumes tend toward elegant and historic, although some characters like Spider Man and Darth Maul also showed up.

Here are some samples of costumes and masks we saw while in Venice.

Reveler with the lagoon behind

Notice the elaborately dressed doll as well.

You can see the time and expense that go into making these costumes. Before we left for Venice, I looked online to see what events we might take part in there. One possibility was attending the Doge’s ball for €1,175 per person which bought you dinner, live music, dancing, and apparently some sort of light show. You had to come in costume to attend. Just buying the typical carnivale mask would set you back about €25 and I think most of those are made in China. For the real, made-in-venice deal, you could expect to pay more like €100. And then there’s the costume!

In addition to balls and dinners, you could also participate in walking and boat tours, including a tour of the history and haunts of Giacomo Casanova, Venetian citizen and playboy whose name has become synonymous with “great lover”.

I kept wanting to do a “gender check” to see if the people in these costumes were male or female. Since the costumes and masks completely obscure the identity of the person inside, it seemed a wonderful opportunity to be something that society won’t let you be any other time of the year. This has always been the appeal to celebrations of this sort. The anonymity allows you the opportunity to be more outrageous than usual.

I tried, without much success to get pictures of the average Joe in the crowd, with just a crazy wig, or some makeup on, but they were less willing to pose for a good shot. Here are a few just to give you the flavor:

We saw lots of these wigs, but this guy was just so Italian.

Kids all over Italy dress up during Carnivale. In even the smallest towns, there are celebrations for the kids. It is their equivalent of Halloween. We saw princesses and spider man, and this more traditional costume.

Venice is busy at all times of the year, but it was really packed during Carnivale. While it is definitely worth the trip, make sure you spend time seeing Venice in all her day-in, day-out elegant splendor before seeing her wigged out and amped up for Carnivale.

For more of our pictures of Carnivale in Venice, click here: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150599659167605.394388.546952604&type=1&l=891e63e160

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