Venice Carnival 2016 (Carnevale di Venezia)

Step into a world of colour, pageantry and mystery

Today marks the beginning of the world famous Venice Carnival 2016 (Carnevale di Venezia.) The ‘City of Canals’ is besieged with tourists coming to experience this unique cultural event and soak up the festival atmosphere. From winter gloom, the city is ignited with a burst of colour.

Person dressed up in costume and mask for Venice Carnival

Dressed to impress: elaborate costumes can be seen all over the city.

This year, the Carnival runs from 23rd January to 9th February, finishing on Mardi Gras (‘Fat Tuesday’) the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The beginnings of the Carnival allege to date back to the 12th century but this has often been disputed by historians.

The festival became notorious during the 18th century in the age of Casanova and it was during this time, masquerade balls became highly fashionable and a lavish event during Carnival. Masks disguised your social status and general misbehaviour led to fortunes being squandered and sometimes imprisonment. When the King of Austria became ruler of the Kingdom of Lombardy and Venetia in 1789, the festival soon fell into decline. The Carnival was even banned by Mussolini during the 1930s. In an effort to attract more tourists the city, the Carnival was re-established by the Italian Government in 1979.

Today, approximately 3 million visitors travel to Venice every year for the Carnival. If you like Fancy dress this is the place for you. The city becomes a live music and party venue, indeed Venice provides a picture perfect backdrop for such a vibrant carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella (the most beautiful mask) on the last weekend of the Carnival and is judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers.

The extravagant Carnival Grand Masquerade Ball is held on 6th February at the beautiful Palazzo Flangini and ticket prices range from €350 per person to €880 per person for VIP entry. For those not wishing to push the gondola out that far, can see revellers dressed up in costumes and masks ‘strutting their stuff’ around St. Mark’s square daily.

You don’t have to visit Venice during Carnival to enjoy the vibrancy and culture of this wonderful city. They sell masks all year round. At Flavours Holidays, we offer painting holidays so that you can capture your own piece of Venice and cooking holidays to savour the taste of Venice.