This past weekend I finally got the opportunity to attend Venetian Carnival, an event that blows “Phantom of the Opera’s” masquerade scene out of the water with the number of people, costumes, and frivolity that occurs in the span of a few weeks. Supposedly put into place upon the victory of the “Repubblica della Serenissima”, the festival became official during the Renaissance and, after a long absence, the Italian government reinstated the celebration of Carnival as a way to pay homage to the history and culture of Venice. Apparently, nearly 3,000,000 tourists visit Venice EACH DAY for Carnival. I definitely didn’t see that many people when I was there, though Piazza San Marco was always packed despite the cold and snow.
I decided to stay overnight, though most of the kids I knew only planned a day trip through some of the travel agencies catering to students in Florence. I wanted to experience as much as possible from Carnivale, and my friend Nick and I took a train at 4:35AM to get into the city before the rush of people arrived later in the morning. Unfortunately, Nick and a few of our other friends left early the following morning for a soccer match in Milan, and I ended up heading out to the islands with a few girls from UConn. I didn’t know them terribly well, but apparently we liked each other enough to plan a trip to Amsterdam together in April! I’m really excited for that trip. Hopefully the cold will have worn off by then and we get to see all the tulips that Holland’s so famous for. Oh, and the windmills. I really want to see the windmills.
The most famous event of the Carnival season takes place this weekend: the contest for the best mask (La Maschera piu bella). Since I went last weekend, I forwent attending today and tomorrow, so I’m sure that I’m missing out on some awesome photos, but I collected quite a few while I was there. Enjoy!