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  • Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival)

    By Anthony Parente

    The Carnevale is one of the long standing traditions of the city of Venice. There is some question as to when the first Carnevale actually took place. It was either during the 11th century when Venice struck a deal that made them one of the most powerful maritime cities in the World causing the people to celebrate, or it was during the 12th century when the Repubblica della Serenissima won its independence and people rejoiced in San Marco square drinking and dancing.

    No matter when the first Carnevale actually took place this event has turned into one of the greatest festivities in the world. One of the great traditions associated with the Carnevale is the costumes and in particular the masks worn by the people. Masks became such an intrigal part that the artisans that created them were even recognized with their own guild in 1436.

    Throughout the history of the Carnevale many masks have been worn. Some masks only existed briefly and can only be found in art work. While others have passed the test of time and have been worn for centuries with some slight modifications. Masks can range from your favorite pet to aliens to figures of the Renaissance period. Of all the types of masks & costumes the Arlecchino, Pantalone, Pulcinella and El Dotor seem to be the most popular.

    The Carnevale is a great opportunity for people to put on a costume and forget who they are. There are no worries of social class. You can be who ever you want to and enjoy the festivities to the fullest. The rich could mingle with the poor and in some cases men & women could go around and have sexual interludes with whomever they encountered without ever revealing their true identity.

    If you are in Venice during the Carnevale and you are in need of a mask don't panic. You should be able to find them in almost every corner you visit or store you shop in. If you can't attend and want to get one for a souvenir you can try Ca' Macana or Venetian Masks Shop.

    In recent years there has been a revival in the creation of masks, which has carried over to the people of Venice and once again the Carnevale has returned to one of the greatest festivals in the world.


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