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Basilica di San Marco

Carnival of Venice – Italy


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Carnival of Venice


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It is said that the Carnival of Venice was originated from a victory of the "Repubblica della Serenissima", Venice previous name, against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico in the year 1162. In the honor of this victory, the people started to dance and make reunions in San Marco Square. Apparently this festival started on that period and become official in the renaissance. After a long absence, the carnival return to operate in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of their efforts. Today, approximately 3,000,000 visitors come to Venice each day for Carnivals.

Venetian carnival masksMain article: Venetian masks

Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. They have always been around Venice. As masks were also allowed on Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Maskmakers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.


Venetian masks can be made in leather or with the original glass technique. The original masks were rather simple in design,decoration, often had a symbolic, and practical function. Nowadays, most of them are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf and are all hand-painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate.



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Taken on February 16, 2012