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The Venice Carnival

The Venice Carnival

EDITION 2017From the 11th to the 28th February 2017

The main events of edition 2017:

  • 11/02/2017 - The Festa Veneziana first part
  • 12/02/2017 - The Festa Veneziana second part
  • 18/02/2017 - Festa delle Marie
  • 19/02/2017 - Volo dell'Angelo
  • 26/02/2017 - The eagle flight ("Il volo dell'Aquila")
  • 28/02/2017 - The Festa delle Mare 2016 - Award Ceremony
  • 28/02/2017 - The "Svolo del Leon"
 

A BIT OF HISTORY...

...Origins and meaning of the Venice Carnival

The first evidence of the Venice Carnival dates back to a document of 1094, in which they talk of public entertainment, referring for the first time the word Carnival ("Carnevale").
It is thought that the establishment of the Carnival in the Venetian Republic was born from the need to give the population a period of amusement and gaming with music and dancing, with the aim of giving a moment of relief especially to the lower classes, according to the logic of the "bread and circuses" of ancient Rome.

The masks and costumes that were used, guaranteeing anonymity, also helped to achieve a kind of leveling of social classes and it was also allowed the public derision of the authorities and aristocracy. The exceeding the limits was tolerated, within the period of Carnival, just like vent to all those tensions that concerned especially the part of the population that belonged to the poorer classes.

...the ancient Carnival

It was in 1296 that was for the first time issued an edict by the Senate, in which the day before Lent was declared holiday: so, the Venice Carnival became a public holiday.
This party was, for many centuries, a long celebration, which lasted from December 26 to Ash Wednesday, although in many cases the festivities began from the beginning of October.

San Marco square, the "Riva degli Schiavoni" and all the major Campi of Venice became places for games, entertainment and fun: jugglers, acrobats, musicians, dancers, animal shows entertained people of all ages and walks of life, so that work and business became less important. The vendors proposed their products, textiles, spices and foods, also caming from distant countries, from the Far East.But the fun was not only the public one, in the streets and squares: in private houses, shops, palaces of the rich lords were organized parties, masquerade balls and small shows of all kinds, including very transgressive shows.

With the passage of time were introduced scheduled appointments with the people and visitors, such as the "Festa delle Marie" (probably introduced as early as 943, although officially it is spoken about it only since 1039) and the "Volo dell'Angelo" (which originated around the mid-sixteenth century)

So it was that, especially since the XVIII century, the Venice Carnival group crossed the Italian boundaries, becoming an internationally renowned event and attracting visitors from all over Europe.

...the modern Carnival

Only the fall of the Venetian Republic because of Napoleon was able to stop this centuries-old tradition that since 1797 was interrupted for almost two centuries for fear of riots and rebellions in the population. Only some of the larger islands of the Venetian lagoon, such as Murano and Burano, partially continued the festivities, even if in a reduced way.
In 1979, thanks to the initiative of certain groups of citizens and with the support of various organizations, among which the municipality of Venice, La Fenice theatre and the Biennale, the historic Venetian event was able to be reborn, even if different in spirit and way, but getting in a few years a world-famous Carnival, also more than the ancient one (thanks to the media exposure).
The modern editions usually have an underlying theme, which inspires all the great festivals and events and there have been partnerships with other Italian cities or around the world cities. 
 
The most important days of the modern carnival are the last Thursday Before Lent and Shrove Tuesday, although the major tourist inflows are recorded during the two weekends.
The Venice Carnival is today concentrated in just eleven days, a period full of events that create a great festival that brings together people of all ages that join both official and private events: as in the past are organized in rich palaces dances and masquerade balls where you can still experience the atmosphere of the past.

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