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The Carnival of Venice, the most iconic in the world

Ancient traditions come back to life in squares large and small populated with masks of rare beauty, as well as stunning attractions for the joy and amazement of children of all ages.

2 minutes

It was here that famous figures of the Commedia dell'Arte, from Arlecchino to Colombina, came to life and it was against this sensual, mysterious scenario that Casanova wooed his way to fame. Why not let yourself go as well and find out all the many opportunities for pleasure Venice holds in store during its Carnival.

The history of the carnival: a thousand year old tradition

Traditional costumes of the Venice Carnival

A festival that traces its roots in the past, to the time of the Serene Republic, when masks were worn to eliminate differences between people and dissolve inhibitions before becoming serious and uncovered again for Lent (the period leading up to Easter which marks the end of Carnival). Everything (or almost) was granted by the Doge on these feast days that for centuries have attracted curious and creative people from all over the world to the lagoon city. And in the not too distant past, Carnival also bewitched figures such as Goethe, Lord Byron and Princess Sissi.

The unique style of the Venice Carnival

Parade along the canals at the Venice Carnival

Even in modern times, the classic style persists, with sumptuous masks, towering wigs, baroque fabrics, bows and laces, just as the aristocracy and nobility wore at the time of the Serene Republic's greatest splendour. The added value of a Carnival such as the one in Venice is the extraordinary setting where everything comes to life: walking towards the Bridge of Sighs or St. Mark's Square is like taking a journey back in time along narrow alleys where mysterious knights and sensual ladies move, until any reference to modernity is lost.

Masks and shows in every street in Venice

Lit up Venice Canal

Surprises are to be found around every corner, with authentic "living paintings" (perfect for Instagram posts or stories) where every detail is taken care of, including very precious materials used for masks and the settings. And as the light casts the first shadows of the evening over St. Mark's Square, the fire eaters, trapeze artists, street artists and musicians begin to appear. The programme is expanded every year with events for everyone, with experiences for children and exclusive parties: yet the onset of celebrations is a fixed appointment year after year.

The Flight of the Angel and other Carnival events in Venice

The Flight of the Angel in Venice

The official opening of celebrations has been entrusted to the Flight of the Angel (or Colombina) since 2001 to the current day. This ritual evokes the deeds of a young Turkish acrobat who, in the second half of the XVI century, walked over a very long tightrope from the belfry of the bell tower of St. Mark's the balcony to the Ducal Palace to pay homage to the Doge. Until the last millennium, a technological wooden dove hovered above the heads of visitors to Venice, showering people below with flowers and confetti during its flight  In today’s festivities, women from show business, sport and fashion fields have taken turns to experience the thrill of flying from the bell tower down to the square.

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