Venetian Masks (carnival etc), Venice
Every year, Venice celebrates Carnival during winter in January or February and what makes it unique here is the masks worn by Venetians and visitors to celebrate event. Masks are available anytime of the year and you can buy one for the Venice Carnival or just as a souvenir to bring home
What to buy: Masks come is all shapes & sizes, and designs. There are cute animal faces, white Harlequin faces or the scary white-beaked mask which represent the plague doctor
WHILE ON OUR VISIT TO VENICE WE CAME ACROSS CA'MACANA QUITE BY CHANCE..
BUT WHAT A FIND IT WAS. WE HAD PLANNED TO BUY A VINETIAN MASK BUT WANTED TO MAKE SURE WE GOT ONE IN THE RIGHT PLACE MADE IN THE TRADITIONAL WAY AND NOT PAY THROUGH THE NOSE FOR IT...WELL THIS IS WHERE CA'MACANA CAME IN.
WE FOUND THIS LITTLE GEM ON OUR LAST DAY AND IT WAS A TREASURE TROVE OF EVERY MASK YOU COULD HOPE TO WANT, IN EVERY COLOUR..SIZE..AND PRICE YOU COULD WISH FOR. AND WHAT I REALLY LIKED ABOUT THE PLACE WAS THAT YOU CAN WATCH THE MASKS BEING MADE AS YOU LOOK AROUND. MASKS HERE ARE CRAFTED IN PAPIER MACHE OR LEATHER, MASKS BY CA' MACANA WHERE USED IN THE FILM "EYES WIDE SHUT" STARRING TOM CRUISE... YOU WILL HAVE SOME TROUBLE PICKING ONE YOU WANT AS THERE ARE SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM..BUT PICK ONE WE DID, PAYING 40 EURO FOR OUR MASK AND WE CAME AWAY FROM THE SHOP AND VENICE A VERY HAPPY COUPLE.
What to buy: CARNEVALE MASKS.
What to pay: WHAT YOU PAY DEPENDS ON THE MASK YOU PICK..PRICES RANGE FROM 20 EURO TO MANY HUNDREDS OF EURO.
In Venice of course one of the most entertaining thing is to see all kinds of beautiful handmade masks.Just give a try even you don't buy.
Their prices are between 10€ to 150-200...€
I bought one pink cat eye that costs 10€ :)
What to buy: Various kinds of handmade masks..
What to pay: 10€-150€
What to buy:
Masks are easy to obtain in Venice. Street vendors sell them (especially at Carnival time), and you can buy anything from mass-produced paper or ceramic miniatures to handcrafted papier-mâché and leather masks by skilled artisans.
If you're serious about buying a quality mask, you should visit one of the workshops where masks are made on the premises
These shops are EVERYWHERE in Venice, no matter where abouts you are, you are most likely to come across one, whta are they ? they are of course the MASK MAKING SHOPS !
The masks are hand made and painted in front of you, they range from hand size to full facial ones, ones with sticks to some with whiskers !
I brought several back with me ( my favourite was made from leather, paper mache and porcelin ) as it would'nt of been a trip to Venice without buying a traditional mask.
They were preparing for the annual carnival which takes place end of february.
What to buy: Masks !
What to pay: depends on the size and of course the quantity, i paid 33 euros for my hand held one and 60 euros for the leather one
Any roadside souvenir stall..
But shops that have artists make their own masks are not all that expensive either.. and more unique as well.
What to buy: Tourists go venice with the intention of buying a mask... And i was no exception. After watching the Carnevale on travel and living on Discovery.. who wouldn't want a mask?!?!
In fact.. i had a budget for a mask... 50euros in fact.. not a lot to some of you.. but a lot for me... and i was on a seach for.. THE MASK... MY MASK.. i saw so many.. but many just looked plain common and was not that cheap either.
I have to admit though.. that i did find quite a few that i thought were.. THE mask.. but they cost around 100euros... so they could not become MY masks...
The irony of it all.. i found this shop on BURANO, the lace island.. instead of Venice.. where the guy made his own masks.. and i got MY mask from there for 16euros!!! *phew* I really love MY mask.. even though it's too small to be worn.. but i'm gonna use it for display... it's really simple but gorgeous.
What to pay: anything from 10euros to a few hundred euros!
Well I know its what everyone buys but a great reminder of your trip to venice is the purchase of a carnival mask.
You will have no shortage of choice , as there is shops all over the island.
The masks range from a few euros upto hundreds of Euros for handmade papermache types.
You will often find the prices to be cheaper in the areas such as Cannaregio away from the main tourist areas.
A small shop run by father and son who both still practice the art of making hand made masks. They also restore antique furniture.
I arrived there after a very long walk, actually looking for another shop in the Dorsoduro area but I didn't find it. Cavalier senior was sitting in his shop, working on a mask, smoking a fat cigar. The shop was completely full, you could not have entered with two persons.
^ ^ ^ Don't forget: 3 more photo's to see in this tip!
Fortunately he spoke French and so we chatted while he carried out some articles to put on show outside his shop, thus creating room to actually be able to reach for the masks which were displayed on the wall. He pushed aside the masks he was working on on his already too full worktop and displayed the ones I had chosen.
He had many photos on the wall of himself with famous people like actors and politicians and he showed me an article in a Dutch glossy magazine that mentions his shop and artistry.
What to buy: There are basically two kinds of Venetian masks. One is the carnival masks with all the fancy lace, colours and shapes. Then there are the traditional masks: Commedia dell'Arte which have to do with theatre. They have fixed shapes and represent different characters such as Arlecchino, Capitano, Pulcinello or Diavolo.
What to pay: For a hand made mask made of papier mache with real gold leaf paper, which as a whole costs a month to make, one pays between 80 and 95 euro. You can find cheap masks all over the streets and alleys of Venice but beware: you may find a sticker with 'made in China' on it.
What to buy:
All over Venice you will find the Venetian Carnival masks. These have a historical background in Venice. The carnival in Venice used to go from December 26 to Ash Wednesday. The people of Venice would dress up and wear masks (some festive, some just plain white, but the importance of it was to cover your face). The Carnival started in 1162, the first mention of masks being worn is in 1268. The fact that all people wore masks meant that there were no social divisions; everyone mixed together singing, dancing, feasting (as after Ash Wednesday was Lent - a time of fasting) and playing games.
All over Venice you will find many carnival mask boutiques (you will also find people selling them off carts in the streets). Depending on your budget you can get a traditional made one (which would generally be more expensive), or non-traditional (which are made faster, so the owners can produce them and get them out to sell to us tourists). Masks come in different materials like plaster, paper mache or porcelain. But no matter in which fashion your mask was made there are a lot of beautiful designs and colours to choose from. So as long as you get one that you like, that is all that matters.
I ended up buying a beautiful mask (2nd pictured in this tip), but I was so worried I would ruin it before I got home (as I was still traveling for another three weeks) that I ended up mailing it home when I got to Salzburg, Austria (where I went after Venice. I bought the mask on a friday afternoon, and so it was too late to go to a post office and send it home straight away). The mask cost me 30€.
For more information on the carnival and its history, check out the website below.
What to pay: 25€ to over 100€
What to buy:
The masks are just too wonderfull and it is a big temptation not to buy every single one. The one thing you tend to forget is that you might have a luggage weight problem when leaving again.
What to pay: Depends on what kind of masque you buy
Beautiful isn't it? A Seductive Widow from the high society all dressed in black ,wearing a mask out of shiny gems and a diamond necklace on her neck.
Well to give u some news - to rent a magnificent venetian costume in the shops will cost you 250 euros per day. To buy it,which is a better investment is over 1000 euros depending on the outfit.
I always stop by here when I'm in Venice. I buy a mask every year and it's usually from this shop or the one a couple of doors down.
They also have another shop just across the bridge opposite. You cross the bridge and the door is directly on your right.
What to buy: Masks, traditional tri-corn hats. They also hire out costumes etc during carnival. They also run courses which can be booked by phone.
What to pay: Varies widely depending on what you want. From a little to a lot!
This shop is a couple of doors down from Ca Del Sol mask shop (see my shopping tip).
I buy a mask every year in Venice and it's usually either from here or Ca Del Sol.
They have 2 other shops both in San Polo - one in Campo San Rocco and the other at San Toma Calle Larga.
They have blanks on the units at the far end of the shop which are relatively inexpensive which you can take away and trim/decorate how you would like.... I think I only paid about 8 Euros for the usual style mask for across the eyse and forehead.
I got a discount for paying cash too rather than using a card. They will, I believe, send your purchases home for you to save you having to take it on the plane.
What to buy: Masks
What to pay: From a little to a LOT!
Venice has a labrynth of narrow streets catering for all you shopping needs whether its expensive designer gear or touristy tat.
What to buy: It seems every other shop and stall is selling the famous Carnival Masks. Some of the more specialist shops do have the most spectacular masks you have ever seen. I was tempted to buy one but firstly there is the hassle of carrying it home and secondly, I think I would have the *** taken out of me walking around Liverpool in one of those masks!!!!!
I was very happy to find this shop as the owner took pride in her work and gave me a free lesson on the history of theater masks. She also explained the difference between tourist masks and what masks are actually used. She also made 3 masks of what I wanted for color designs and is shipping them to me. To me good customer service was rare in Venice so with her great service and the fact that she was better priced than others with better quality made the money I spent more than worth it.
What to buy: Carnevali Masks, and pictures.
What to pay: I would not spend more than 35Euro on a Quality Mask. and check to make sure it is real, not molded plastic.