February marks the beginning of the carnival season in many Italian cities. But which city offers the best events?
The Carnival in Venice is one of the most beautiful carnivals in the world, a spectacular tourist event offering a unique atmosphere and unusual masks.
The festival began in 1162, in celebration of Venice’s victory over Aquileia. In a city with such a rigid social system, Carnival provided an outlet and release as the costumes and masks guaranteed anonimity allowing citizens to mock authority. For some weeks of the year, anyone could be who they wanted to be!
Masks were made with simple materials such as clay and paper mache.
When Napoleon invaded Venice, the Carnival was banned for fear of the citizens conspiring against the French troops. The festival was not to come back officially until the Italian government decided to promote the Venetian culture and history in 1979.
"Carnevale" is celebrated 40 days before Easter, just before the start of Lent. In fact, the word "Carnevale" comes from the Latin words "carne" and "vale" meaning "farewell to meat".
The 2019 Venice Carnival will be held between February 19th and March 5th.