Venice is one of the most beautiful cities of the world, it is unique, it has its own peculiar bittersweet allure. But a couple a weeks per year, Venice has something more, something completely different, something wild, and magic and beautiful: the Carnevale di Venezia – Carnival of Venice.
The Carnival of Venice: madness, once per year…
The word “carnival” – Italian: Carnevale – has a Latin origin and it means “to remove meat”. The reason of the “removing” from the diet is the Lent, the forty days period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
As in many other occasions the Carnival is an example of syncretism: the Christian celebration overlaps pagan (Roman, German and Celtic as well) passage rites related to the end of the darkness and the return of the light with the spring.
Carnival was a reversal ritual, in which social roles were reversed and “normal” behaviour suspended.
A Latin motto:
Semel in anno licet insanire – once in a year one is allowed to go crazy
became a Medieval proverb which perfectly sums up the spirit of Carnival. Disguise was one of the characteristics of the Carnevale, and it still is.
Many Italian towns and cities have Carnival celebrations, but the Carnevale di Venezia has a special magic.
The medieval city becomes a theater with street performances, music and, of course, lots and lots of maschere: masks and costumes, often handcrafted.
If you are in the mood, you can also run for the Best Masked Costume Contest!
The maschere transform the cobbled and narrow alleys of Venice in a fairy tale, but Venice is, of course, a city of water, and the magic spread over the canals, with the Water Parade.
The Carnival of Venice: just add (more) magic
Venice in late winter is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway, and the sounds and colours of the Carnevale let this beautiful city be even more beautiful, and a feast for photographers: a medieval city stuffed with strange creatures is a must see and the perfect occasion for some outstanding shots.
So: choose your maschera and fly to Venice, the Carnival is getting closer!