In just two weeks, the amazing annual spectacle that is Venice Carnival (or Carnevale di Venezia) gets underway in the beautiful city and its many islands. Famous worldwide for the intricately-made masks and fabulous costumes, the locals really do go all out each year to make this a sight to behold.
So what is Venice Carnival? Its beginnings date back as far as 1162 but it was during the Renaissance period that San Marco Square in particular became the sight of these elaborate costumes and helped spread Venice’s image across the world. While it was outlawed for nearly 200 years, it was brought back in 1979 to help promote the history and culture of the city of Venice. Its success is easy to measure with around 3 million tourists visiting during this time each year.
Over 2 weeks, the city comes alive with these masks and costumes, with a number of special events throughout the carnival ensuring a fun holiday for all visitors. These events range from taking in the mask competition to Renaissance-style hot chocolate afternoon balls. If your experience of masquerade balls is limited to that scene in the Phantom of the Opera (apologies to anyone who now has that song in their head…myself included!), then this truly is a unique experience which you’re sure to always remember.
There are a range of different types of masks worn at Venice Carnival, some which were worn to distinguish your job. The one you might be most familiar with is the Colombina, traditionally worn by women. The Colombina covers only half the face and was said to be made for an actress who didn’t want to cover up her beautiful face! A personal favourite of mine is probably the medico della peste mask which somewhat resembles Gonzo from The Muppets. If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed games like myself then you’ll recognise this as that worn by the doctors. This is true to real life and it is said that they would have had burning incense or herbs in the beak to protect them from the “bad air” of plague sufferers.
If you fancy the idea of escaping reality and donning the mask and costumes for a short period of time with a fun holiday at Venice Carnival, then why not check out our Venice Carnival & Opera package here, with prices from €987EUR per person. This package includes 3 night accommodation in 4* hotel in Venice with breakfasts, 3rd/5th CAT box ticket for La Traviata Opera, and an afternoon ball ticket.