Venetian Masks (carnival etc), Venice
Venice's shops and stalls are not surprisingly awash with masks. My favourite was one in Cannaregio which had huge animal ones. However, most have the more famous glittering faces. They come in both decorative and real sizes so prizes are as varied as size and style. It also pays to look around a bit as you can find very varied quality and also varying prizes for the same type of mask. The real hand made ones can be gorgeous and is a special souvenir if you can bring it home.
What to pay: Anything from five to thousands of euro.
CA'MACANA VENEZIA - del 1984
*Corsi teoritico pratici
*Maschere per il Teatro il Carnevale e l'Arredamento
Maskmaking and Courses - Dorsoduro 3215
Maskmaking and Showroom - Dorsoduro 3172 / tel +39 041.2776142
Showroom - Dorsoduro 1169 / tel +39 041.5229749
Showroom - Castello 4531 / behind Doges palace/ tel +39 041.5209674
What to buy: This is the other mask that I bought. I just had to have it !!! Do you know H.R.Giger ? It reminds me of some of his paintings. To help you - it's the guy that created "the Alien" from the movie. But than , while I was looking "lords of the rings" the elfes were looking like my mask!!! So to put 2 and 2 it's a mixture of an Alien and Elf
What to pay: the price of this one was 70 euros,but Venice is not somewhere you go every day....
You could find numerous shops selling Venetian masks. The varieties (size, design, price, type) offered are enormous and their purposes ranged from decorative, to gifts and also party accessories. We went all over the area around Piazza San Marco and a lot of the shops sell their own unique masks. So take your time and explore each shop to find the masks you like and those that fit your budget.
What to buy: The small ones are ideal as gifts and souvenirs.
What to pay: It depends on the variety you choose. I got small porcelain ones for around 2 to 3 euros each.
There were many mask shops around Venice. We found a shop that manufacture and sold masks. this is the place that was commisioned by themakers of the movie "eyes wide shut" for all the masks in the Masqurerade ball scene.
They were very friendly and let us try on many masks.
they also offered courses in mask making!!
What to buy: the choice is endless - from the extravagant to the simple.
"La Bottega dei Mascareri" of the brothers Sergio and Massimo Boldrin is located at the foot of the Rialto bridge and has been open since 1984. This shop offers AUTHENTIC masks which the brothers work in a centuries-old craft.
The shop is quite small and also serves as their workshop. Therefore, if you shop there, you are able to see the craftsmen at work.
Before you walk into the actual shop, you may want to look at the photographs of some famous people who have used their services.
Note that the masks from the movie, "Eyes Wide Shut" were made at "La Bottega dei Mascareri". We worked with Sergio Boldrin and were delighted with his "down-to-earth" attitude and non pressure sales technique.
He autographs the masks for you and will pack and mail them. We purchased a large solar/lunar/woman to send to the USA, and it arrived in four days.
Even if you do not purchase anything, it is just a delightful experience to meet the brothers and to see for yourself the quality of original work they do.
What to buy: One can find such a variety of masks in this shop. Medieval figures such as court jongleurs, eighteenth-century life, commedia dell'arte masks of Pantalone, Arlecchini and Zanni, and original lunar and solar pieces in gilt.
You can be assured of the quality because their masks have appeared in international fashion design displays, in films, and in the California Shakespeare festivals. In addition, articles have been written about their work all over Europe and the United States as well as in travel books and magaziens.
What to pay: Depending on what you select, you can pay between 15 Euro up to 500+Euro.
This shop is truly special because it was this man, the owner, who first resurrected the practice of making masks in Venice after it had died out a couple centuries ago. He makes masks using the same high-quality process they used in the 1700's, when Venetians actually wore masks on a regular basis (as opposed to hanging them on the wall, like we do now). So if you're looking for an authentic remembrance instead of a cheap souvenir, this is the place for you.
It was quite amusing to hear him speak with such disdain of certain unnamed mask-makers around town who dry their masks with a blow-dryer! Obviously this is NOT the traditional method!
What to pay: Prices vary a lot with design and size, but I can tell you it costs a lot if you want it mailed home instead of taking it back yourself. One woman I know had her medium-sized mask mailed back to the U.S. and the shipping alone cost 45 Euros.
We all know that Venetian glass is on most people's shopping list as they come to Venice. Besides the glass, be prepared to see a lot of masks. You can find carnival masks made out of paper mache everywhere. I believe that they make an excellent purchase here. They come in many colors, types, and price ranges. In some shops, you can see them being made. I consider them all to be works of art. You can get the ballroom dance type with the wooden handles, or you can get one that covers the whole face. I am not much of a shopper myself, however there was something about these masks that was really interesting.
What to pay: A few euros for the most basic ones to well over 100 euros for some very special ones.
Everyone knows that Carnivale in Venice is absolutely amazing and unlike sister celebrations anywhere else in the world!! Of course it makes sense then that there are tons and tons of masks everywhere. There are the really ornate ones for collectors and then there are the more ordinary ones. If you want to buy a mask, Venice is definately the place for it!!
What to pay: 10Euro - Over 100 Euro
I had to have a Venetian mask but not from some touristy shop. It needed to have a personal touch. As I walked down a previously unexplored calle, I spotted an elderly woman, hand painting a mask in her shop. She was wonderful and so were her masks. Suddenly, there it was. The one for me. But, ahead of me was a full day of walking and discovery. "I'll be back later." Later I retraced my steps. Along that canal, left at that church, across the bridge, right at the cafe and there it is . . . not? Nothing! Day two another search and nothing. Ready, to give up on day three, same route and there it was! What happened? Turns out the shops were closed but more than that, they had pulled down overhead doors and made themselves disappear completely. So if you see it and you want it . . . go for it!
What to pay: I paid about $60.00 for this mask in 1998.
We actually bought our masks on the Island of Burano (see my Burano page),
They make the masks in the shop & they couldnt have been nicer people, they played with and entertained freya the whole time we were in there (about 45 min!)...............
What to buy: Masks are very popular buy in Venice, especially around Carnival time ( February-March ). You can spend as much or a little as you wish, althoug obviously the more you pay the more individual the mask tends to be.
What to pay: 5 Euros to 500 Euros (and probably more!)
What to buy:
Masks for Carnival are selling in every moment of the year. It's a typical product of Venetian people, by the way Stanley Kubrick wanted venetian masks for his last movie "Eyes Wide Shut".
What to pay: High cost
Venetian masks are world famous and all over Venice you will find shops and art galleries who sell Venetian masks. They come in papier mache, in plaster, in porcelain or in ceramics. The decoration is so different and can be in gold or silver leaf, with pearls, paintings, ... all you can think of as per the imagination of the artist. Classical colours are black, red and gold.
The best shops to buy the masks are the ones where you can see with your own eyes how they are being created. It's only then that you can be sure that the mask is unique, handmade and autographed.
I had decided to take home just one mask, but sigh, I had a hard time trying to choose one!
Finally I got home with a mask that shows 3 faces, happy, angry and thinking.
What to pay: I paid about 10 € so I didn t think I paid too much.
There are mask shops around ever corner, and it doesn't have to be carnival time, either, for masks to be available. This shot was taken in a back room of one shop. You can see the molds from which the papier-mache masks are made in the background.
Venice of course is known because of the Carnival of Venice and the Commedia dell' Arte.
Must have been strange walking through the narrow streets of foggy Venice in the centuries before the 18th century when masks were still in fashion.
People disguished, laughing, drinking and sometimes dancing passing eachother in the narrow streets.
I tried to imagine it when I was looking at masks in a little shop and I could imagine the feel of freedom such a mask must have given.