The True Story of the Carnival of Venice
The origins of this feast are very old...
...Already in ancient Rome a period of the year was dedicated to the rest and the amusement of the population, above all of the lower classes, as this was a means to vent the frustrations of the poor and to lighten the responsibility of the aristocracy.
During carnival everybody used to wear masks and disguises. Thanks to this anonymity, the poor mixed to the rich mocking them and the nobles found out what opinions the subjects had about them and what kind of problems there were in the city.
The first document where carnival is declared a public feast is dated 1296 and once the celebrations lasted some months, from October to the beginning of Lent.
This celebration took place every year until 1797, when Napoleon forbade it because he feared that the masked population could conspire against him, and was resumed at the end of 1970.
Today the carnival lasts about 15 days and begins with the famous flight of the angel from St-Mark’s bell tower. In this period there are various shows in the city, mask contests in St. Mark’s Square and masked dances in many Venetian palaces. Everywhere you can find the traditional sweets of carnival: “frittelle” (a sort of donuts) and “galani” (a kind of fried cookies).
A Feast not to Miss
Apart from the historical masks of the Venetian tradition like the mask of Harlequin, the carnival of Venice has kept the Baroque aesthetic of the 17th century. People were beautiful decorated masks with feathers and elegant costumes and although the theme of the carnival changes every year, there is always space for improvisation and imagination that make of this feast an experience not to miss.