Welcome To The Venetian Carnival…A World of Wonders!

The Venetian Carnival 2017 begins in just 3 days, running from February 11-28! Though I will not be attending the glorious festivities in person, I can still reminisce upon my past attendance and cherish Carnival from afar. Perusing photos from when my costumer mother Lita and I attended in 2005 (a trip that inspired my book Venice), I was treated once again to the sight of remarkable raiment…

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What I have always found fascinating about the mask and costume culture of the Carnival (namely throughout Venice’s illustrious history), is the anonymity it gives the individual and the new guise it may offer them. It empowers one to cast away social pressures, and become whoever or whatever they wish. The pauper mingled freely with the aristocrat, the infirm beamed with good health, and the old were filled with youth once more…

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Here was a pearly queen with her court of incandescent unicorns and magical beings. They glittered in the sun while their glimmering attire swirled in the breeze. During the Carnival, anyone can transform themselves, moving even into an otherworldly realm…

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What exotic rulers, from a distant palace filled with riches, shine like gold itself just beneath this marbled portico?

When researching this culture of mask from Venice’s history, one discovers that the majority of coverings translated into commonly known characters. This sometimes still holds true today…

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As you amble through Venice during the Carnival, inquire with the exquisitely attired and ask them who they are. Unique characters may reveal themselves (some with a wink to history and tradition). Only, don’t be offended if many remain mute. The right of anonymity belongs to the masked, and some don’t prefer to even share the vibration of their voices…

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Many don the brightest colors, covered in drifting sheer fabric and an eddy of soft feathers. Mysterious tropical birds, descending upon the city to outshine the average sea bird of the lagoon…

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And many couples (sometimes even groups) display themselves in carefully created, matching garments. I dare say, this pair would have had a hard time losing one another in the crowd! They remind me of the wind and water that are as much a part of Venice, as its majestic palazzi are…

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Wouldn’t it be fascinating to add up all of the hours spent creating such works of wearable art each season? The numbers would be telling of the passion a great many patrons put into their costumes. I thank them for keeping the magic and tradition of the Venetian Carnival, alive!

Here’s to the 2017 Carnevale di Venezia and to the city and people of Venice! Here’s also to remembering to add a bit of wonder and magic to each of your days, whether or not it be a festival day!

13 thoughts on “Welcome To The Venetian Carnival…A World of Wonders!

    • LOL! I guess there is something a little bit eerie about an anonymous horde of revelers, all secreting behind their masks. However, in the context of a masquerade, many would argue that that is what makes such an event exciting!

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  1. As you so accurately describe, this is one of the reasons I chose to spend time in Venice. Starting on Mardi Gras and for the next three weeks I dressed “en femme” with my mask being my make up. Not only was I discovering a magical place, but also as someone totally different from my usual persona. The stage was set and I reveled in it! Thank you for sharing your photos.

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    • And thank you for all of your thoughtful reflections! They are so appreciated! I too reveled when Lita and I spent a week in our gowns. As a 21st century woman who LOVES history, I’ve always wanted to experience what it felt like to wear the trappings of women from other time periods. I’ve enjoyed a few seasons of costume theatrically. But during the Carnival in Venice, you can almost believe that you’ve gone back in time. You can transcend what century it is for a spell. I loved every moment. I cannot wait to do it again!

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