The Carnival of Venice

Carnival of Venice: the PeacockFrom the magical and mysterious scenario of the decadent Venice, also this year, maskers of incredible beauty walk in the streets of the city or wave from the famous “gondolas“, welcoming thousands of people attracted here by the fascinating power of the Carnival of Venice.

The word carnival comes fromthe Latin “carnem levare” (=to eliminate meat), which refers to the last day of Carnival, Shrove Tuesday, before the fasting of the Lent. Thus, it is celebrated in the countries of Christian tradition. Its origin is ancient and comes from the Roman “Saturnalia“, feasts in honor of the Roman god Saturnus, where the traditional order and the social roles were inverted. In the Celtic mythology, the correspondent period was called Samhain and coincided with the period when a passage was believed to open between the world of the dead and that of the living.

The Carnival of Venice has medieval origins. Through the use of masks, it was made possible to hide one’s identity and thus, to cancel any social status, sex and religion. Owing to the fact that anyone could hide behind a mask and commit all sorts of crimes without being recognized, the Venetian government has tried to restrict the use of masks only to Carnival days. Nowadays, the Carnival of Venice lasts for two weeks and ends with the celebration of Shrove Tuesday. Venetian masks are unique and are made from leather, porcelain or with the original glass technique (the area is also popular for the wonderful tinted glass). Nowadays, most of them are made with the application of plaster and gold leaf and they are all hand-painted and decorated with natural feathers and gems.

The Carnival of Venice is different every year thanks to the choice of a particular theme: the theme for this year is “Vivi i colori. Live in color“. In fact, art has always been very popular in Venice with its famous “children” Canaletto, Tiziano, Giorgione and so on. For its variety, color is assumed to be a symbol of the human being. Hence, the different colors represent the different human personalities hidden behind the Carnival masks, as well as the diverse cultures hosted in Venice through the centuries. The theme of this year, color, is  the leitmotiv of the several events taking place in these days in Venice, such as concerts, performances, exhibitions, masked balls and shows for kids. There are even organized special tours of the city with participants wearing masks.

Carnival is the feast where everything is allowed….so, don’t miss it! Book your hotel in Venice now!

Il Carnevale di Venezia by Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) sung by the Cor del Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona.


“Siamo ciechi, siamo nati,
per campar di cortesia;
in giornata d’allegria
non si niega carità!

Donne belle, donne care!
Per pietà, non siate avare!
Fate a poveri ciechietti
un tantin di carità!

Siamo tutti poverelli
che suonando i campanelli
che scuotendo li batocchi
col do, re, mi, fa, soi, la,
domandiam la carità!

Deh! soccorreteci, donnette amabili!
Siate benefiche col miserabili!
Noi siamo poveri di buona bocca,
siam pronti a prendere quel che ci tocca.

Deh! soccorreteci, per carità,
che carnevale, morendo stà!”


Il carnevale di Venezia (O Mamma mamma cara), Op. 10 by Niccolò Paganini (1782 –1840)

Peacock – Carnival in Venice 2012 photo by heatherbroster

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