Venice Carnevale Season - 2014

Let's go to Carnevale in Venice this season...

Venice Carnival costumes

Venice carnival costumes carnevale venezia

Venice Carnival costumes Carnevale Venezia.

It doesn't matter whether you call it Carnival, Carnevale, or Mardi Gras. There's nothing like a Carnival celebration to help banish those winter blues. Italy is one of the best places to view and participate in a Carnevale vacation. Everywhere you will find Carnevale masks, costumes, allegorical floats, special food and wine. And interestingly enough, each Italian region does Carnevale differently. What are you waiting for?

This fabulous celebration occurs on the Tuesday 40 days before Easter so the date varies. Carnevale 2014 is on March 4, Carnevale 2015 is on February 17, but Carnevale season starts earlier. Plan your Italian holidays now. Keep reading.

The Venice Carnevale is among the most famous Carnivals in the world taking a back seat to Rio and perhaps New Orleans. But does it meet the hype? Should you feel that you have missed out if you have to spend Carnevale in an alternate Italian location, a Carnival elsewhere in the world, or perhaps even at home? Thatís for you and only you and perhaps your partner to decide. Hopefully this article will help you make this momentous decision.

The Venice Carnevale is relatively short, lasting only about two weeks. That can be a good thing, even more so when you consider the costs involved. The city of Venice has a population of about 270 thousand of which less than a quarter actually live in the historic town. Compare these figures to the estimated 50 thousand visitors per day, and we are talking about the annual average, not Carnevale time. On the upside, Venice is the largest car-free city in Europe, but there are two pricey parking lots.

Back to Carnevale. The first record of Venetian Carnevale was in 1296 when the local Senate decreed the day before Lent to be a public holiday. Festivities in the early days included slaughtering of pigs and oxen and mass brawls, for which bridges seemed to be a favored location. According to Seventeenth Century guidebooks more than 30 thousand visitors graced the city during Carnevale week. After the Venice Republic fell in 1797 Carnevale was banned and didnít return for decades. In the days of Mussolini it was illegal to wear a mask in public. Then it became a sort of childrenís party but nothing more. Believe it or not, the modern Carnevale dates only from 1979. By 2004 annual attendance passed the one million mark with over one hundred thousand on the final Saturday and Sunday. The peak has passed and attendance is on the way down. Perhaps in the words of that athletic philosopher, Yogi Berra, ďNobody goes there anymore, itís too crowded.Ē

Venice carnival mask carnevale venezia

Venice Carnival mask Carnevale Venezia.

Masks were and are a central feature of the Venetian Carnevale. People wore them for a large part of the year, would you believe that at one point in Venetian history mask wearing was reduced to three months a year? The Mascherari (mask makers) were favored members of society and had their own guild and even their own laws. The original masks were made of papier-machť, a major component of allegorical floats as well. Other mask materials include leather and wax cloth, which they tell me is fine for eating and dancing. The sky is the limit for decorative materials including gold leaf, feathers, and jewels.

Here is a short list of some official events and their admission charge cost for the 2010 Carnivale. At the time of this writing one Euro is worth about $1.43. Hot Chocolate in Costume at the Hotel Danieli on Saturday, February 6 costs 50 Euros. Expect to pay for costume rental. I donít know what the cleaning charge is if you get hot chocolate all over your Marie Antoinette dress. Later that day at the Luna Hotel Baglioni there is a Moon Masquerade with a refined Carnival Buffet Dinner and music of the 70s and 80s costing 290 Euros. I do not recommend that you wear the clothes you wore to 70s and 80s concerts, even if you can fit in them. Letís skip to the final day. On Tuesday, February 16 at the Hotel Danieli youíll enjoy Venezia Romantica with a top dinner, a ball, and lots more for 450 Euros. The dress code is Historical Costume. Enjoy. And look for me. Iíll be the guy in those plastic giveaway glasses from American 1950s 3-D movies. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine local wines.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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