Do You Know These Curious Facts About the Carnival of Venice?

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Ciao! It is that time of the year when the masqueraded men and women will flock down the streets of Venice and spawn the magic of carnival once again. The Carnival of Venice is one of the most popular events in the world with its origin dating back to the 13th century. Taking place from the 13th day of Lent and ending on the Shrove Tuesday, the festival showcases Italy in its utmost frolic mood. The tradition of carnivals prevails in many countries, but the exquisite city of Venice supersedes every other city when it comes to hosting this stunning event. Imagine thousands of people spirited with joviality, dancing and singing on the streets. However, the carnival is not just limited to dancing, singing and wearing costumes. It assimilates a lot more attributes and an immense capability to surprise anyone. Therefore, let us go through these interesting facts about the carnival of Venice and acknowledge its pre-eminence once again.

Interesting Facts about Carnival of Venice, Italy

Carnival of Venice

Many countries claim to host the carnivals, but the one hosted by Venice is exemplary. This can be accredited to the beautiful landscape of the place. A blend of entertaining programs such as fashion contests, theatrical performances, the artistic display of costumes and of course, the essence of the carnival, the stunning masquerades; make the whole experience surreal. 

1. The Carnival Goes On No Matter What!

Carnival of Venice

The quintessential festivity of the carnival is not meant to be interrupted in any way. In 1789, the Doge of Venice, Paolo Reneir suffered an untimely death and the carnival still continued with all its festive frenzy. It was only at the end of the carnival that the death was made public on 2nd March.

2. Everyone Becomes Equal In a Real Sense

Carnival of Venice

The carnival provides the opportunity for all the men and women, whether rich or poor, destitute or famous, fishermen or shipwrights; to wear masks and stand as equals. The disguise allows the wanderers to climb the stairs of the majestic Palazzo Ducale and salute the Doge. What else one could want? Right?

3. Overdose of the Masquerade

 Masquerade

The government in the country had to impose a ban on the use of masks for the rest of the year, once the carnival was finished. The intervention was the result of the excessive and adverse use of the masks throughout the year. In 1339, people were prohibited from wearing masks during night time. During the 16th century, the use of masks in churches and convents was strictly forbidden.

4. Celebrations Coming to a Halt

carnival of venice

In the mid-90s the carnival suffered a short termination at the hands of the Austrians and the French who were not very great fans of this celebration. This  happened after the fall of the republic. However, the essence of the carnival continued in Burano and Murano islands and it was only at the end of the year 1970 that the Venetians could rejoice again with the state’s decision to restart it. In 1979, the official reopening ceremony of the carnival was held.

5. The Angelic Bestowals

Angelic Bestowals

Ever wondered about someone pouring gifts down on you from up above? Well, it actually happens at the carnival of Venice. On the first Sunday of the celebrations, an event takes place where a person throws presents at the people standing below. The event has a long history. It was during the 1500s, an acrobat walked on a rope stretching from San Marco Bell Tower to a boat tied at the Piazzetta’s quay. While coming down on the rope he reached over the balcony of the Palazzo  Ducale and offered presents to the Doge of Venice. The event was highly appreciated and it was decided to include in the Carnival. The acrobat hanged from a rope with rings and was named Volo Dell’ Angelo. After a few successful and very popular runs, the show met a sad ending in 1759, when an acrobat fell onto the street. After this tragic incident, it was decided to replace the acrobat with a wooden dove which poured confetti and flowers on the crowd standing on the ground. It was only in 2001 that the memories of the tragic incident were assuaged and it was decided to replace the dove with a person again.

6. Satiate Your Sweet Taste Buds

Fritelle

The Fritelle and the Galani, the two most sumptuous Venetian sweets are the major highlights of the Carnival food. The attendees can find these two in almost every bakery. Every shop tries to be innovative with these two sweets particularly. Many interesting and mouth-watering versions can be found all over the city.

7. Even the Under-Dressed Are Accepted

Under-Dressed Are Accepted

The whole concept of the lavish costumes and intriguing masks are the essence of the Carnival of Venice, but the people not fitting this description are equally welcomed. Even if the outsiders have missed the shopping opportunity for the carnival, the costumes can be bought practically from any nook and corner of the city. The visitors can get the masquerades painted on their face by the artists roaming the streets, that too at a very cheap price. If someone is not a very big fan of paint, then, of course, the masks are available starting from mere 5 Euros.

8. Magnificent Balls

 Magnificent Balls

Venice is a single trusted destination to experience majestic private parties. The stunningly magnificent balls are organized all over the city and getting an entry is a child’s play. A person needs to own a sophisticated costume and he is done. The option of renting is also available for the people who do not want to own a high-end wardrobe.

9. The Events

events if venice carnival

The merriness of the carnival is not only limited to a single center. The events with an equal zeal are organized all over the city. The Tre Marie and the Volo Dell’Angelo are a few, but not all of such breathtaking events. The Piazza San Marco is also an exclusive place famous for hosting events during the Carnival. 

10. Masks Have Their Own Curios Stories

masks

Masks are not just a supporting embellishment, in fact, they are the true essence of this festivity. Masks have had a long history in the Venetian context. Conventionally, people were allowed to carry masks from the start of the Santo Stenfano festival till the end of the carnival season. As a result, the masquerade could be enjoyed for the major part of the year. What is even more interesting, is the variance prevailing in different types of the masks. Let us look at a broad classification of the masks.

  • Bauta: The popularity of Bauta shot high in the 18th century when people paired it with a black cape and wore it in the political events. Till now the mask remains as one of the favorites in the eyes of the attendees. The Bauta covers the face completely. The mask is a good option to carry a grotesque look. The large nose, a thick ridge and the chin line without mouth supplements a scary look. The wearer can easily talk, eat or laugh, all thanks to the beak-line chin of the mask.
  • Colombina: One of the characters in the Commedia dell'arte, a theater responsible for the advent of improvised acting while wearing masks, was named as Colombina. The Colombiana mask derived its name from the same character. It is a half-mask where the lower portion of the wearer’s face remains exposed. A ribbon or a baton is used to tie the mask.
  • Medico della Peste mask: The 17th century witnessed a deadly plague and the Medico della Peste Mask was used as a protective measure. Charles de Lorme, a French physician used this mask on his patients to prevent the disease from spreading. The mask contains round eye holes, a hollow beak and is pigmented white.
  • Moretta: The patrician women wore Moretta masks with no mouth and wide eye holes. The mask was for the purpose of concealing the identity of these women and was sometimes paired with a veil.
  • Volto: It is a modernistic Venetian mask usually paired with a cloak. It covers the entire face and exhibits features like lips and ears. The eating and drinking of the wearer gets restricted because the mouth remains completely closed.
  • Pantalone: The mask gets its name from an Italian character named Pantalone, who was a melancholy figure with a large nose, slanted eyes, and high brows. It is a half mask covering the upper half of the face.
  • Arlecchino:  Arlecchino, a character of the Commedia is considered as the inspiration of this mask. The character is supposed to be a noble savage. The mask accentuates an ape-like nose, round eyebrows, bumpy forehead, and a rounded beard.

It is just a matter of a couple of months and the streets of Venice will witness an amusing phenomenon where thousands of people will wear one of these above-mentioned masks and pursue an adventurous experience. Catch a glimpse of the Carnevale de Venezia in this video:

Let the frenzy not overwhelm you, because the Carnival of Venice stands as one of the best festivals on the globe.

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