Yes, we finally made it! We’ve been wanting to go to the Carnevale di Venezia for a few years now, but something always got in the way. This year, though, we DID IT! And it was everything, plus so much more than we thought it would be! I can only say that if you get the opportunity to visit Venice during this very special time, you have to do it. You will not be disappointed!
This year’s Carnevale season began on Jan. 31st and ended on “martedi grasso”, or Fat Tuesday, on Feb. 17th. We arrived in Venice on Feb. 13th, stayed until Feb. 18th, and were able to experience the last, and most eventful, weekend of the Carnevale season. Venice was very crowded during the day, with lots of people gawking at the sights and at the “professional” carnival costume wearers!
I call them “professional” because I think they must be actors or models – whenever you ask them to take a picture, they strike a beautiful pose! Some are even escorted by photographers!
The costumes were sensational, with my favorites being the ones whose faces were covered entirely by the masks.
To my surprise, though, the nights were fairly empty. This made for an other-worldly feeling. I felt like I was walking back into time experiencing Venice just like it was hundreds of years ago!
Venice takes on a completely different atmosphere at night, when it’s quiet. The lighting of the piazzzas and churches is magical and very romantic, and walking the streets of the original city that has so many reproductions (like the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas) is truly an amazing feeling!
While there, we decided to take in a masquerade ball! Yes, everything about this event was expensive – from the rental of the costumes (which you must have if you attend a ball) to the actual cost of the ball, but it was definitely worth it. As my husband pointed out, we’ll probably never go to another one of these again, so we should experience it to the fullest! The best part of the masquerade ball was being able to go inside one of the private palazzos of Venice to see it’s splendor. The ball we attended was the Mascheranda Ball and it was held in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta.
This palace was originally built in the 15th century, renovated during the 18th century, and decorated by famed Venetian artists such as Tiepolo, Guarana, Diziani and Angeli. We arrived by water taxi and were greeted by some elegant majordomos before being escorted into the lower level of the palazzo for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and some entertainment by acrobats and dancers.
Dinner was served on the second level in two beautifully decorated salons with paintings and frescoes on the ceilings and on the walls.
Dancing came at the end with classical dancing in the dining salons and a “disco” on the lower level. Seeing all of us dancing to modern music all dressed up in our Renaissance garb was quite a site to see!
The event was well worth the money, only that the food was mediocre at best. Too bad, but I guess that was a small price to pay for the experience! After the ball, we decided to walk back to our hotel near the Piazza San Marco (about a half hour walk). We were the only people walking around the small alley ways (or calles) of Venice and we were dressed up in our antique outfits – we felt like we had walked right out of a picture from Renaissance Venice! So surreal!