The Carnevale di Venezia is undeniably one of the most beautiful and famous carnivals in the world. If it is not the most grandiose, is certainly the best known for the charm it exerts and the mystery it continues to possess even now that 900 years have passed since the first document that refers to this famous tradition.
Who has never heard about it? There are memories of the Carnival festivities since 1094, in a document that speaks of public entertainment in the days preceding Lent. The official document declaring Carnival a public holiday is 1296 when the Senate of the Republic declared a public holiday on the last day of Lent. However, the Carnival has much older traditions that refer to ancestral cults passing from winter to spring, cults present in almost all societies.
If once the Carnival was much longer and even began the first Sunday of October to intensify the day after the Epiphany and culminate in the days preceding Lent, today the Carnival lasts about ten days coinciding with the period Easter but the carnival fever never ceases during the year. A subtle euphoria sneaks through the streets and grows imperceptibly.
Once the Carnival allowed the Venetians to leave aside their worries to devote themselves entirely to entertainment. People flocked to admire the most varied attractions: jugglers, acrobats, dancing animals, trumpets and drums, vendors selling dried fruit, chestnuts and fritòle (pancakes) and sweets of all kinds. Venice became the European high school of pleasure and play, of mask and irresponsibility. For many days a year, the world seemed not to resist any more, the desires became feasible and there was no thought or act that was not possible. This was Venice in the eighteenth century, the century that, more than any other, made it the endless suggestions and heritage of the fantasy of the world. In the nineteenth century, however, Venice and its Carnival embody the international romantic myth and the city becomes a destination for artists, writers, musicians, adventurers and beautiful ladies from around the world.
The Carnival had a moment of stasis after the fall of the Republic of Venice because it was frowned upon by the temporary occupation of Austrians and French. The tradition was preserved in the islands, Burano, Murano, where it continued to be celebrated. Only at the end of the 1970s some citizens and civic associations revived the Carnival celebrations and the festivities were inaugurated again in 1979.
Nowadays, the Carnival involves big sponsors, TV networks, cultural foundations and attracts crowds of curious tourists from all over the world with thousands of masks.
Among the streets of the wonderful city, for ten days, there is a continuous representation of theatrical joy and playfulness, all in mask to celebrate the charm of a world made up of dances, jokes and romantic encounters.