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After the preview, a week later starts the logn awaited Carnival in Serenissima. A very packed schedule waits for the whole city and its visitors, a festive and coloured flooding, full of XIX century costumes and traditions taking your breath away.
As it was anticipate, for the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification the tradition of a Carnival theme was recoverder: this year theme is “Ottocento-da Senso a Sissi-the city of women”, chosen for the coincidence between Shrove Tuesday, that signs the end of celebrations, and Women’s Day, on March, 8th.
After a week-break from the preview wanted for this edition, the party starts again on February, 26th and won’t stop for ten days.
The beginning is on Saturday with “Festa delle Maria” parade, composed by twelve beautiful Venetian girls chosen in previuos weeks, starting in San Pietro in Castello at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, passing through Riva degli Schiavoni and arriving in Piazza San Marco, where there will be the presentation of “Marie” to the city. Among the twelve the most graceful will be elected in the same square by the Doge on March, 8th, at 17:00, at the end of the water parade starting from San Giacomo dell’Orio.
In the past, the Doge chose every year on Mary Purification Day, on February, 2nd, the twelve most beautiful and poorest brides in Venice, two each sestiere (Venice’s Quarters), and gave them jewels and gold coming from patrician families and gifted to the city.
Over the years this celebration felt into disuse and it was recovered in 1999 and since then it has been celebrated every year with some changes.
On Sunday, February, 27th, at 12:00, in Piazza San Marco it will be possibile to attend the traditional “Volo dell’Angelo” (the Angel’s Flight), during which a mistery guest will climb down the bell tower of the Basilica to land in the square, naturally costumed following the Carnival theme.
The tradition of Volo made by a real person has been recovered only in 2001, interrupted since XVI century for an accident occurred to the Angelo. Since then the Angelo has been replaced by a little dove (colombina), a mechanical puppet coming down the people gathered to assist the event and scattering flowers and confetti along its flight.
During the above-written events and on March, 6th, commemorations of historical situation will be put on the scene: parades, welcoming committee, flags,street theater performances, traditional dances, everything strictly costumed.
Going on the calendar of this event known all over the world, you find the manifestation the most awaited in Carnival of Venice, the most beautiful mask contest. This year, the prize will join the one for the best XIX century theme mask. To enter the final, maskers have to face selections all happening in Piazza San Marco on March, 3rd, 4th and 5th from 12:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 17:00.
The jury will be composed by experts and celebrities. Maskers and spectators will be entertained by hosts and artists. On Sunday, March, 6th, from 15:00, you can assist the final in the same square. To participate to selections it will be necessary to sign up on the Carnival official web site during the month of February.
On March, 6th, at 12:00, in Piazza Ferretto in Mestre will be take place the traditional parody of “Volo dell’Angelo”, the “Volo dell’Asino” (The Donkey’s Flight): a self-ironic artist will fly down the belltower in the middle of the crowded square where he will continue entertaining the public with songs and dances accompanied by the presence of true donkeys for a very Carnival party. families in particular will surely find it funny.
Piazza San Marco will represent, as everyone con see, the center of celebrations, even thanks to shows that San Marco’s Grand Foyer has in the store for visitors and Venetians: choreographic companies and circus-theatre international artists shows, parades, comic shows, live music concerts directed by Djs and Italian radio anchormen. It couldn’t come without dances every evening from 20:00 for the whole Carnival period that will sweep the parterre of the foyer, passing through waltzer classic rythm to the hot ones of tango. You can’t miss the evening happy hour and the gran finale on March, 8th.
If you want to breathe deep the XIX century atmosphere there’s nothing better than a theme dinner in Venice’s Casino, absorbed into the elegance of Palazzo Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, where good food and refined furniture will accompany artistic and burlesque performances. For further information visit the Venice Carnival official web site.
The whole city will be involved into this blaze of festivity colors: many street artists will contribute in making unforgettable the visit to the city, in Casa del Cinema (Cinema House) there will be a film festival dedicated to Carnival, many churches will be open later in the evening to host several concerts and many museums and art galleries will do the same to ensure suggestive visits dedicated to culture.
Moreover, for the whole duration of the festival, in gardens of Biennale di venezia, in the main pavillion and in the national ones, the 2nd edition of Kids’ Carnival will take place, entitled “Il Giardino dei paesi volanti” (The Garden of the flying countries). There will be also live shows in Piazza degli Eventi.
For the closing of Carnival, on March, 8th at midnight, lights and candles will surround the Silent Regatta, a water parade of gondolas sailing along Canal Grande to San Marco basin, where hundreds of paper lanterns will take off for a goodbye to the festivity that will mean the beginning of Lent.
In short, the celebration that Venice waits all year long is coming. Missing it it would mean renouncing to attend to a sight of Serenissima history and to marvel costumes, preciuos draperies, white masks amazing everyone and remaining in hearts.
This post is also available in: Italian