Venice (Part V): Carnival Weekend

Venice, Italy

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Venice and the Carnevale

Last weekend was the opening weekend of Carnevale di Venezia. It is the major annual event that begins a couple months before Easter and lasts until Fat Tuesday–the Tuesday before Lent. Carnevale is most known for its incredible costumes and masks. The original meaning of the masks is that everyone would use the period of the Carnival to “mask” their social classes–so the rich could behave poorer, and vice versa.

Many people compare this celebration to Mardi Gras in the United States, but I felt that Carnevale is much different from that Mardi Gras that I know. The festivities have a greater connection with its history, and the emphasis is more oriented around family and culture rather than a LETS GET TRASHED AND GO CRAZY attitude. It was an awesome experience, full of energy and rich with culture.

Ciao! The city of Venice was dusted in snow on the opening morning of Carnevale--very unusual weather! The lagoon was partially frozen too, for the first time in ~50 years!

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A crowded, energetic St. Mark's Square

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The entire city was decorated for the spirit of Carnevale

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While we restrained from splurging on a gondola ride, it was nice to see them operating despite the cold weather

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Always look up!

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The streets were FULL of vendors and shops filled with displays of beautiful masks to purchase for the Carnival. The shopkeepers took lots of pride in the fact their their masks are authentically made in Venice, rather than imported or whatnot. ("NOT FROM CHINA--MADE HERE!")

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Ready to mask myself with my first souvenir from Italia!

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The stage set-up in St. Mark's Square mimicked an old theatre

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My favorite photo.

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The emcees on the stage got us dancing in the piazza to all the Italian hit songs!

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When off in the sidestreets of Venice, Chelsea and I heard a deep drumming from a distance. Following the sound led us to this awesome drum performance. This performance represents what is probably my favorite aspect of Carnevale--that so much of the festivities is created BY the people FOR the people. Carnevale is not dependent upon hired entertainers--it's the people themselves who provide the entertainment with their awesome costumes, spontaneous music performances and everything else. It's an awesome energy and spirit 😀

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The Flight of the Angel

The opening of Carnevale kicks off with “the flight of the angel” ceremony, in which a [very brave] woman descends from St. Mark’s Campanile.

The bell tower rang as the "angel" prepared to take her "flight" --How thrilling!

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She's ballsy.

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...So graceful

Crazy Carnevale Costumes

One of the coolest parts of Carnevale is seeing the amazing costumes that attendees wear. Everyone can buy a mask, but these full costumes are something really special. I tried to catch as many shots as I could!

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Well, that concludes my Venice series! Florence life is hopping, so I have lots to catch up on for sharing. Ciao for now 🙂

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2 comments on “Venice (Part V): Carnival Weekend

  1. Nana says:

    What gorgeous costumes! It looks like an opera; except you are in it, part of all the festivities. How very exciting. Love your mask, good job picking it out.

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