The mist of medieval times covers the origins of one of the most spectacular carnivals in the world – Venice Carnevale. It started on December 26 and lasted till Shrove Tuesday. The beginning of the Lent was the time of many restrictions, which has been mirroed in the Italian name – ‘carne vale’ means ‘say goodbye to meat’.
Lasting almost two months, this was definitely a long farewell, full of balls, dances, songs and rather free behaviour, so to mask the identity noble citizens covered their faces, well, with the masks.
The reputation of liberated spirit of celebrations reached Europe, and every year Venice witnessed streams of foreigners wanted to learn how to have fun.
Ninteen century brought the Austrian occupation to the city,a sad one, but the country has been unified again in 1866, and while at the end of the century Europe was hidden in darkness of Decadency, Nihilism and ununderstable paintings of Impressionist, Venice with Italy had even more reasons to celebrate than ever.
This year’s Carnival in Venice is themed after that spirit of reunification – ninteenth century – ‘Ottocento’ – and brings ‘fin du siecle’ dresses, top hats, corsets and crinolines.
Nowadays the carnivals lasts mere 10 days, and this year’s dates are 26 Feb – 6 Mar, but Venice found more excuses to celebrate.
The weekend of 19-20 February is going to be the time of ‘Great Toast’ directed to Venetians and tourists, and one of key attractions will be the fountain with pure wine instead of water.( We will see ).
The medieval tradition will be mixed with 19th century style, but you there will be many of traditional carnival elements.
Volo dell’Anzolo is the flight of ‘Angel’ the stunt performed by chosen Italian athlete, who will slide on a rope from the top of Campanille to great the Doge waiting on Piazza San Marco.
Festa delle Marie is another local custom, at the beginning of Carnival carefully picked twelve humble Venetian girls will be presented to the Doge, who is going to choose the ‘chosen one’ at the end of Carnival.
This Maria will get all the noble honours on Piazza san Marco.
Below is the schedule of Venice Carnival 2011
GRAND TOAST IN VENICE
Saturday February 19th, 7pm-8pm
Piazzetta San Marco
Sunday February 20th, from 10am
Canal Grande and Cannaregio
FESTA DELLE MARIE
Saturday February 26th, from 2pm (from San Pietro di Castello), arrival in Piazza
San Marco for the Prize Giving, 4pm ca.
Tuesday March 8th, from 3.30pm (departure of the water parade from S. Giacomo
dellâ€™Orio, arrival in Piazza San Marco at 5pm for the Prize Giving).
Sestiere of Castello and San Marco.
THE FLIGHT OF THE ANGEL
Sunday February 27th, 12pm
Piazza San Marco
THE BEST MASKED COSTUMES CONTEST
Sunday, March 6th, from 3pm
Piazza San Marco
3 – 8 March
Campo San Polo
THE FLIGHT OF THE DONKEY
Sunday, February 6th, 12pm
Piazza Ferretto, Mestre
THE SILENT REGATTA
Tuesday, March 8th, Midnight
[photo courtesy of pierrepaul43]
Check the Tours and Activities in Venice
A visit to Venice during Carnival 2011 is the key part of the rail trip prepared by
Great Rail Journeys, which includes also Paris, Ljubliana, Lake Bled and Nuremberg.