There are many countries and cities in the world where a Carnival is celebrated; Rio in Brazil is probably the best known of them all, but this is closely followed by the Carnival of Venice, famous for the beautifully made masks that are traditionally worn.
Now famous around the world, the Carnival of Venice has become the city’s top tourist attraction, with hundreds of thousands of visitors travelling internationally to experience this colourful event. The Carnival is a great time to come and visit this wonderful city and take part in a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years! The Canival of Venice in 2010 is not about to change this.
What is the Carnival of Venice?
Like most carnivals around the world the Carnival of Venice was started as a religious celebration in the Christian calendar and the dates are determined by when Easter falls. The period called Lent was traditionally a time when rich foods such as meat, dairy, fat, and sugar should not be consumed and other celebrations could not take place. This meant that in the run up to Lent all these types of foods were consumed and the people generally had a good time, sometimes acting out of character and generally going over the top!
In the late 1200’s the now famous tradition of wearing a mask to the Carnival of Venice began. Mask makers did a roaring trade back then, and even now, whether during carnival time or not, masks are one of the top selling souvenirs from Venice!
As the years went by the Carnival of Venice earned the city quite a reputation and has been attracting tourists since the 17th century. There have been periods when the carnival didn’t take place but it was revived again in 1979 and has been happening annually since then.
What can you see at the Carnival of Venice?
For many visitors it’s the masks and very lavish costumes that are the main attraction at the Carnival of Venice. The whole city has things going on over the carnival period, so make sure you check out all quarters of the city to see what’s happening. St Mark’s Square is usually a major hub for events such as music concerts, and mask competitions, but you’ll find there are a great many arts events elsewhere too, such as ballet and theatre to enjoy.
The exact programme of events changes every year and is published nearer the time on the official Carnival of Venice website. Check that website before you head out to Venice so that you can plan which events and attractions you’re most interested in seeing.
Visiting the Carnival of Venice
The great thing about the Carnival of Venice is that you can visit the city and enjoy certain attractions without having to buy a ticket, though tickets may have to be purchased for specific events. Again, the official website is the best place to check this. In 2010, the Carnival of Venice will be held from Friday 5 February to Tuesday 16 February.
Venice has many excellent places to stay but with so many people visiting the city for the carnival, accommodation can get booked up very early. Make your plans well in advance if you’re planning on visiting the City of Bridges during the Carnival of Venice.