Wearing of masks in Venice (masquerading) began all the way in 1268 and it had to do with the relentless moral decline of the people of Venice. From the early 14th century new laws started to be promulgated to restrict masquerading especially during the night (men used to dress as women and enter the houses of young Venetians with "immoral thoughts"). Wearing of masks was limited only during the Carnival and official banquets. From 1608, the penalties were very heavy, for men it was 2 years jail time, 18 months galley-rowing and also a 500 lire fine. As for women, they were whipped from San Marco to Rialto, then they were banned to enter Venetian territory for 4 years and they had to pay the 500 lire fine.
Fondest memory: There are so many stores in Venice selling masks, from the little ones (7 euros), made in plastic, to the standard ones - face size - from 20 to 75 euros, depending if they are made of simple plastic, or other cast material, to the more complicate to process ones, that could be a real Carnival mask, that can cost anywhere from 75 euros up to 200. These masks in the picture were phenomenal - the woman with a superb crafted mask with stones, and the man wearing a lion head mask, looking heavy and very impressive.
Venice....is like a Dream. A dream to live for short time, because like other travel, you want keep a idea.
Especialy in the Carnival you can do it!! Infact is the moment all people dress a Mask an make joke, Drink,.......drink more.
I think anyway all dipend to you, if you want really enjoy.
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( my brother's carnival pics - 2002 )
The Carnival is a century-old tradition in Venice and reached its maximum splendour in the 18th century. it was celebrated from December 26 and reached its climax the day before Ash Wednesday, also known as "Mardi Gras". During the period of Carnival it seems that every excess was permitted and the fact that everyone wore masks seemed to abolish all social division and to set aside the rules of behavior.
The Carnival was restored to life since 1980. People come from all over the world to enjoy private and public masked balls and masked revelers of all ages invade the campi
taken from a BBC news item:
Venice, the city of waterways and canals, is to clamp down on pedestrian traffic during this year's carnival.
The Italian city is introducing a one-way system over bridges and in narrow streets, with stiff fines for revellers who ignore the rules.
On-the-spot fines of 25 euros (£17) could rise to 500 euros (£340) for those who fail to pay up.
More than 500,000 visitors are expected at the carnival, which runs from 7 February until Shrove Tuesday.
The last day of the carnival is expected to be the main attraction when thousands dress up in carnival costumes.
Venice police chief Francesco Vergine said that, in general, tourists were fairly obedient.
"When they are asked to go in one direction, they do as they are told by police, even if grudgingly," he said.
The theme of the festival this year is The Orient Express, Voyage on the Old Silk Road, India, Thailand, China and Japan.
Organisers say landmarks such as the Grand Canal and St Mark's Square will be "invaded by sounds, voices, dances, acrobats, street artists from the East".
In the tourist areas you can find lots of stores where they sell carnival masks. Some are fantastically made, of course with the according price tag attached to it, lol. I would love to see Venice during the carnival, but I wonder if I could stand it considering how crowded it will be.
Aaaah, the carnival!!! Even in November there are lots of places where you are reminded that Venice is the place to be for the carnival. Hmmm, wouldn't mind seeing that, wow, must be so busy in Venice, but so much alive! Aaah... maybe one day....
The whole city is a delight that it is difficult to select highlights. Just wander around and soak up the unique atmosphere. Don't leave without visiting St Mark's Basilica. This building is stunning from the outside but the inside is breathtaking. Mosaics cover the floor and ceilings...unmissable.
Return outside, cross the square and take the lift to the top of the Campinile where the view is just stunning. In one direction you look down on terracotta rooftops. Turn around for a bird's eye of the square and the crowds milling outside the cathedral. Turn again and take in the view across the lagoon to the islands beyond.
Fondest memory: I was lucky enough to be in Venice for the last day of one of the famous carnivals. The crowds are even more dense than in the height of the summer but the atmosphere is electric. Costumed performers strut through the streets, pausing to strike a pose for the photographers before moving on. This is an unforgetable experience.
If you want to be someone else or just to be far from your everyday life and have a good fun, pack your bags and go to Venice in Carneval period.
Fondest memory: Walking through the streets of Venice and seeing all this masks I was fascinated. There are many traditional costums and masks that really brings back life like it was so many centuries before, when Venice was a famous state.
If you have the opportunity go during Carnival time. My second trip to Venice was on the end of the Carnival season. But I must say that even been born in Brazil, the Carnival in Venice is the best (it tights with ours). You just get involved. You see so many people dressed with different costumes! From children up to old couples!But be aware, do make reservations long time before Carnival. We decided to go at last minute but we were so lucky that we made great friends that hosted us better than a five star hotel.
Fondest memory: Buying myself a Carnival mask and just hangging out and dancing as well with my friends at the Piaza San Marco.
February's Carnivale is incredible. There were tens of thousands of people here and the small streets were packed. The costumes were very elaborate. Venitians take this festival very seriously.
Fondest memory: The best things I liked were actually seeing the famous gondolas and streets of water. It was hard to imagine such a place, but it's there and waiting for you too.
If possible, visit during the festival. Regardless, you MUST GET OUT AND WALK!! Venice is extremely safe (there is no where to run!) and every little island has it's own unique story to tell. Try a meal at a hidden restaurant, a new fruit at a small store the size of a closet, examine the architecture of a handrail. The possibilities are absolutely endless!
Fondest memory: EVERYTHING!!!
Favorite thing: Buy a mask. There's loads of mask shops. Some of them actually make them in the shop and they allow you to watch - great. You can buy cheap masks that are not originals and they are produced all over the city.They are good souvenir, and you will be spoilt for choice. Here's a picture of my boyfriend wearing his mask.
Fondest memory: Bring out your masks, your medieval costumes (the more EYECATCHING it is, the better). It's CARNIVAL TIME here in Venice!!!!!!!!!! This definitely beats the one in Rio anytime, baby!!!!!!! That's me trying to get some attention??? Of course NOT!!! That's one of the performers I spotted along the streets. Isn't she pretty?? Haha!!
Fondest memory: Venice Carnival first gained widespread popularity in the 18th century. Back then, it began immediately after Christmas and lasted for six weeks! Citizens wore gaily coloured costumes and put on comedic performances in the theatres and on street corners, poking fun at social and religious rituals and conventions. Today, the Carnival lasts for just a few weeks. The days and nights are filled with masked balls and sumptuous gala parties, drawing people from all over the world. Costumed revellers spill onto the narrow alleys, bridges and lavish piazzas of Venice. You can even sense in the air the mighty sounds of trumpets, firecrackers and drums!!!!!!! The streets near the famed Piazza San Marco get so crowded that at times the crowd picks you right up off your feet!!!!!!!!! The piazza itself is packed, very packed and completely filled with people dancing. So what are you waiting for??? Call your travel agent NOW!!!!!