Category: Venice’s Carnival

Venice’s Carnival

Venice’s Carnival takes place in February, in the days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. It used to last ten days but now in order to extend this high-earning tourist season, events often start the weekend before that. Consequently the main events of the 2015 Carnival take place 7th – 17th February, but the first celebrations start on the weekend of the 30th/31st January.Carnival, or Carnevale, has been celebrated for centuries throughout Italy. The name is said to derive from the words carne vale – ‘farewell to meat’ – which explain the function of the celebration: an opportunity to indulge and use up such treats before the start of Lent (like an extended Pancake Day).In modern Italy Carnevale is generally a time for children, who are led, carried and wheeled around town dressed in costumes – from cute fluffy animal suits to musketeers and Harry Potters, leaving a trail of confetti, sweets and ‘silly string’ littering streets and piazzas. Sometimes the celebrations extend to organised events for the whole community, but on the whole it’s not a very important time for adults.In Venice, however, the tourist board and hoteliers hit upon a fantastic money-earner in the 1980s when they revived a picturesque version of Venice’s past. In Venice it’s the grown-ups who have most of the fun, with masked balls, costume parades and a slightly antiseptic nostalgia for more decadent times.


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