The Ultimate Masked Celebration at The Carnival of Venice

Celebrating Carnevale di Venezia 2019

“a Carnevale ogni scherzo vale”* and if you misbehave more than usual this year, you can just “Blame The Moon” – this year’s theme for the Venetian Carnival. From 16 February till 5 March, Venice will be the most intoxicating place to be, as Carnival is celebrated all over the city. Carnival begins with a two-day Water Festival on the Canal Grande – colourfully decorated floating vessels filled with people dressed in costumes and masks take part in a captivating “parade” on the water, energized by rhythm, music and thrilling performances.

(* anything goes at Carnevale).

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The Venetians have celebrated Carnavale for as long as anyone can remember. Napoleon shut things down in 1797 when he captured The Republic of Venice, but in 1979 Carnival returned with many of its decadent traditions – and perhaps a little less debauchery – to encourage tourism in the region. From its roots in escapism and sensual pleasure, Carnival has become a family festival with amusements for party lovers of all ages.

In a flamboyant interaction of parades, music, art, performance, food and music, Carnival brings more than three million visitors to Venice every year. Events and entertainment are held nightly throughout Venice with the most crowd-drawing activities scheduled for the weekends. Professional performers, local residents and visitors escape their everyday identities in traditional masks (many made of leather, glass or porcelain) and extravagant costumes. Immerse yourself in the spirit of Carnival as you wander around the city and join in the revealing. Voting for the best masked-costume takes place over several days with the final winners declared at a prize giving ceremony. There’s still time to enter – if you haven’t created your own eye-catching costume, there are rentals available – the best ones from the historic studio of Pietro Longhi.

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A highlight of Carnival is the Flight of the angel – a traditional event that has seen many changes over the years. These days the “Angel” is played by the young lady chosen as “Maria of the year” at the previous Carnival. Secured to a cable, the Angel is gracefully lowered in a dramatical flight from the San Marco bell tower to a stage in the main event area in Piazza San Marco. A number of other “flights” take place during the Carnival, some rather more frivolous than others …

The Venice Carnival brings together art, music, food and fun in a programme of sensational events, with the most anticipated being the official Lunatic Dinner Ball presented every night from February 23. In keeping with the Lunar theme, expect to meet mysterious characters from other worlds, while sounds sights and flavours converge in unusual and surprisingly delightful experiences.

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At last, the final twelve contenders for the title of Maria 2019 will arrive by boat to Piazza San Marco where the winner will be crowned in an emotional award ceremony before the Flight of the Lion (a flag bearing the image of Venice’s Golden Lion) marks the symbolic closing of the Carnival.

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The most beautiful stage in the world is yours – come and enjoy being part of the show!

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