Venice Carnival 2016 Dates - 23rd January - 9th February.
Venice, capital to the province of Venetia, is built on an archipelago of 118 islands in a shallow lagoon and is serviced by 150 canals. Canals serve as the roadways of Venice and the islands share 400 bridges among themselves, hence also the name, The City of bridges. The Venetian gondola is as old as the canals and instantly recognizable part of the city’s landscape.
Venice, today as well in the past has a strong cultural presence. Venice’s cultural heritage includes paintings, music, theatre and the performing arts. But its identifying feature is the Carnival, a brilliant congregation of masked parade and revelries.
Carnevale di Venezia is an orgy of pageants, masquerades, balls, banquets, concerts and the commedia dell’ arte, which commences a week prior to Lent and continues till Shrove Tuesday. Carnevale is derived from the Latin and means to give up meat and implies a farewell dinner of steaks and stews that the Catholics would later refrain from during the weeks before Easter. The masked pageant harks back to the Roman tradition of a fertility festival where the aristocracy and the slaves wore masks.
The Venice Carnival is an enchanting time for everyone from the elite to the plebian. It overturned the social order and transgressed all norms and rules of society. Venetians donned their masks and the Palace remained lightened up day and night and allowed all manner of revelries to take place within its precincts.
Serenissima Repubblica de Venezia, as Venice was known in ancient times was a powerful State. The Carnival has ancient origins dating back to the 11th century. The Carnival began as a celebration of the victory of the Republic in the war against Ulrico Patriarch of Aquilia in the year 1162. The celebrations began in the Piazzo San Marco with the slaughter of a bull and twelve pigs. Dances, processions, magicians and a new form of theatre the commedia dell’ arte all constituted the carnival.
The celebrations continued till 1268, the year masks began to be used in the carnival. In the sixteenth century, which marks the glorious era of Venice, the celebrations were more sumptuous and elaborate and continued up to the eighteenth century. As the Republic began to decline in power the celebrations became more wanton and licentious.
Finally the rise of the French and later the Austrians curbed the celebrations, but they effectively ended when Napoleon invaded Venice. The Carnival was resurrected in 1979 and today the masked revelers are an icon of Venice tourism.
The events which took place during the Carnival usually depicted some historical occurrence or the life of a famous personality. The usual events are the Volo dell’ Angelo (Flight of the Angels), Festa delle Marie (Celebration of the Marie), Gran Corteo Storico (Great historic Parade), Sfilata delle Maschere (Mask Procession).
The Carnival of Venice 2009, labeled 6 Sensi for 6 Sesteri, a promise to satisfy all six senses of the reveler. The Carnival provides enough entertainment to stimulate all the senses of the merrymaker. The 2009 Carnival begins on the 13th of February and continues up to the 24th of February.
The events lined up for this fortnight are a mix of the traditional and eclectic. The first day will be the official opening of the Carnival celebrated in the traditional style at the Luna Hotel Baglioni. The grand ball will take place in the Marco Polo Ballroom; dress is of course your costume d’epoque. The second day has three events the Moon Masquerade, at the Luna Hotel, in carnival costume.
The halls of The Ridotto, will stage a theatre show about the life of the young Casanova, with singers, dancers, musicians and a live orchestra all costumed by the unique Atelier Tiepolo. The last event for the day is the Serensimma Gran ball, which will take place in the 14th century magical Palace, the Palazzo Pesaro Papafava lit by candlelight, in carnival costume with masks. The following day is the traditional Volo dell’ Angelo, the Flight of the Angel at the St. Mark’s Square.
The Marie’s Parade, again has its origins in history, when the last Doge rescued 12 maidens from the clutches of pirates. This pageant is reenacted with the 12 most beautiful damsels and celebrates the courage of the Doge. The Parade starts from St. Pietro di Castello Church and winds its way through the Via Garibaldi to St. Mark’s Square.
Finally there is the Gran ball of Colombina, followed by a dinner at the Hotel Danieli. A traditional carnival event, the Hot Chocolate in Costume at the café Lavena is scheduled for the next day, followed the next day by a Gondola Tour in costume and dinner at the Do Forni.
The succeeding day is the official Ball of the Venice Carnival, the Ballo Tiepolo at the Palazzo Pisani Mosetta. The candlelit ambience will have musicians, mimes, acrobats, dancers and magicians for entertainment. Dress is your historical costume. Later there is the Gran Ball of Gustina Renier Michiel at the candlelit Papafava Palace.
The next day is the ball of Louis du Soliel a historical costumed gala at the Palace Zenobia, which recreates the opulence of an 18th century Ball. The Great Baglioni Party in carnival costume at the Luna Hotel and also an Operetta “The Servant Mistress” at the Papafava Palace followed by Diner Dansant-Le Mansuet at the Hotel Danieli.
The following day has a surfeit of planned events the Baroque Music concert and Cocktail at Scuola Grande dei Carmini, a masked parade for children, a Gondola Tour and dinner, Ball of Casanova at the Palace Zenobia, Grand Carnival Gala at the Luna Hotel Baglioni, Carnival dream at Palazzo Dandolo, Gran Ball of Dogaressa at the Papafava Palace, El Ballo de la Therica at the Palazzo Albrizzi. The Masked Mascheranda is scheduled a day later. A final Gondola costumed Tour followed by a Farewell Carnival Gala at the Luna Hotel. The masks and costumes required for all events can be hired for use.
Costumes and masks largely provide the grandeur and mystique to the Carnival. Costumes in calle, campelli, lace, brocade, velvet and satins are elaborate, rich, detailed and evoke a magical feeling. These costumes combined with an appropriate mask allow the wearer to escape into a world where he can live his fantasy.
Costumes fall into two types the carnival costume and the historical costume, both allow one to indulge in an orgy of elaborate and rich dressing. Masks like the Bauta, were used by both men and women but not girls of marriageable age. The mask comes with a small cloak over the shoulders and a witch style hat and a large black cloak.
The Moreta is an oval mask of velvet worn by women; it also has a lot of detailing. The Gnaga is a plain disguise of a man as a woman. The most famous mask is the Pantolone, a mask with a beaked nose, eyebrows and a short beard, combines a costume consisting of a black red lined cloak, with a woolen beret, a red jacket, panty hose and black Turkish shoes. The Carnival embodies a time for letting go of everyday cares and allowing oneself unrestrained enjoyment.
Everyday ( 7/7 ) at 7.30 pm
* Dinner 7.30 pm - 8.05 pm
* Show 8.10 pm - 9.30 pm
Teatro San Gallo,s
50 metres from Piazza San Marco.
Dinner + show (buffet is a typical standing Venetian dinner - drinks included)
* Adults €65
* Children from 0 to 6 years are free
* Students €49
* Discount for military, Carta Venezia, VENICE CARD welcome
* Group rates on request
* Family plan ask at the ticket office
OR visit: www.venice-carnival-italy.com
OR: Drop in to the Venue: see map
OR: See your concierge