Among Italy’s most famous carnivals, particular mention goes to the Carnival of Venice. The first official declaration of the Carnival of Venice was declared a public celebration dates back to 1296, an edict by the Senate of the “most Serene Republic,” making the day before the starting of the month of Lent a holiday.
Established by the Venetian oligarchy as a concession to the people, its objective was fun and merrymaking, where the mask dominated as a means to briefly ignore any signs of belonging to social class, gender or religion. Today the Carnival of Venice is an evocative and much-anticipated popular fest, unique in terms of its history, its masks and its atmosphere. Highly-reputed and appreciated in all the world, it brings thousands of tourists to Italy every year.
During the Lagoon’s two-week Carnival celebration, all can watch and take part in the numerous events and displays filling the piazzas and main waterways of the city. As in the past, private parties and masquerade balls still happen behind the scenes today, inside Venice’s grand noble palaces. In these places, where time seems to stand still, guests can jump into this world of ancient splendor, reliving the Carnival tradition of long ago.
Some of the most spectacular moments during the Venetian carnival are the Flight of the Angel (or Flight of Colombina), a tradition that began with a Turkish acrobat in mid-1500s. In this amazing spectacle an artist in flesh and bone hangs from a metal cable, and, suspended in air, makes his descent from the top of St. Mark’s Bell Tower to the Doge’s Palace.
It is a magnificent sight to behold. Venice, city of art exudes its charm all throughout the year, but only Carnival can render it even more magical. It is a safe bet to explore the place by hiring a car.
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