Dynamic and engaging, those looking to experience a true taste of Italy will enjoy the Carnevale experience in the major Italian cities. Among these, Venice is most well known for the Carnevale festivities, and many world travelers head to the city to experience the celebration that brings on the season of Lent.
Carnevale in Venice
The Carnevale holiday has been celebrated for hundreds of years. It’s a huge party or festival that includes costume balls, masques, music and parties. There are parades and parties in the squares and on the streets as well. Pranks are common during the days of Carnevale as well, which has become the norm, and many people expect just about anything to happen during the festival, or A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale!
The original holiday was, like so many Christian festivities, pagan in origin. But the Christians realized that using the holiday was wise and the Carnevale celebrations were adapted to fit the designs of the Catholic Church. Like Mardi Gras and Carnival in other parts of the world, Carnevale is the Italian way to bring in the season of Lent. It’s one of the last days to celebrate the wildness before the more solemn of the Christian seasons sets in for forty days and forty nights.
Because the Christian calendar changes every year, the dates of Carnevale change as well. Fat Tuesday is the Tuesday forty days prior to Easter, however, and the Carnevale experiences last for up to two full weeks prior to the final day of celebration leaving visitors with plenty of opportunities to experience what the city has to offer.
The Venetians celebrate Carnevale in a fun, but laid back way. Most of the people celebrating walk through the streets wearing the elaborate and sometimes antique masks pulled out for just this occasion. There is not usually wild dancing or a street party atmosphere as there is in other parts of the world, but Carnevale does include gondola and boat parades, fire work displays over the Grand Canal, full and elaborate costumes and many costume parades to show of the handiwork as well.
To get the most from the Carnevale experience, buy a mask once you arrive in Italy and don a simple costume or cape. Then join in the fun of walking throughout the city experiencing all that it has to offer to visitors and residents alike.