We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prelude to Carnevale

They're back!!!!  Frittelle, that tasty little morsel of fried dough stuffed with crema, zabaiglone or ricotta and made only in the Venice area and ONLY at Carnevale time, have been sighted in bakeries this week!!

Unfortunately this is not a great photo, but I couldn't resist snapping a quick shot with my phone as I passed the bakery next to our apartment, so you get a lovely reflection of one of the buildings across the canal as a bonus!

I've been vowing to eat more sensibly  in the hopes of shedding the extra pounds I put on while eating with sheer abandon during our vacation and the holidays. Frittelle are not going to help my cause any!  Already I've had two of them!  I had to introduce our friends Anne and Kate from St.Louis to them, so we stopped off at Rizzardini's where I ate my first of the season, filled with zabaiglone. Heaven!  What is it about fried dough???

Yesterday, I HAD to have one filled with ricotta, so I ducked into the Majer. I will bet you there is another ricotta filled frittelle coming home with me today.

Frittelle in the bakery is the first sign that Carnevale is on it's way. It's almost like hearing robins singing- you know spring is right around the corner. Same with Frittelle.  Our harbinger of Carnevale season.

This year, similar to last year, Venice will host a weekend of events Feb 4-5, prior to the official start of Carnevale which is on Feb 11. Here's a link to the website where you can see a list of all the events requiring tickets, which you can order on the site as well:


Some of the biggest events are the Marie's Parade on Feb 11 which starts at San Pietro in Castello and ends in St. Mark's square, and the Flight of the Angel, at noon on Feb 12 in St. Mark's square.

The Marie's parade starts at San Pietro in Castello and ends in St. Mark's square, where the 12 Marie's are presented to the Doge.  Just prior to Carnevale, 12 Marie's are selected in a beauty pageant like contest held at the Casino. These 12 Maries preside over various events throughout the city during Carnevale week, including appearances at several masked balls. At this special parade the Marie's are acompanied by groups of people from cities nearby Venice, in traditional dress. Many of the groups have flag throwers performing. It's an interesting parade to watch full of pomp and ceremony, as well as 12 beautiful Marie's. (Below is small  clip of last year's parade)

The flight of the Angel involves a person "flying" down a wire cable from the Campanile across the square down to the stage at the opposite end of the square where the Doge is waiting to greet them. In previous years, there has been a celebrity "Angel", however in recent times, in a cost cutting effort, the Angel has been the winning Marie from the previous year. This year will be the same. It doesn't matter who does the flying, it's an event worth experiencing to kick off the big Carnevale week. St. Mark's square will be packed to capacity, with barely room to breathe.  You can purchase a ticket to get a close up spot for the Flight of the Angel, however the majority of the throng will just be jammed into the square with cameras, sans a good position, just like me.

Here's a list of some of the famous "Angels" from the past few years ( just in case you were curious, as I was).

2005: Carolina Marconi, model and actress;
 2006: Manuela Levorato, sprinter;
 2007: Federica Pellegrini, swimmer;
2008: Coolio, rap singer, with a costume by Moschino;
2009: Margherita Maccapani Missoni, actress, with a costume by Missoni;
2010: Bianca Brandolini d'Adda, model, with a costume by Giambattista Valli;
2011: Silvia Bianchini, winner of the beauty contest of the Festa delle Marie 2010, with a costume by Emanuela Finardi and Stefano Nicolao.

And finally, a clip of the Flight of the Angel from a previous year, to get you sufficiently psyched for Carnevale 2012!


Maxine Oliver said...

Hi Karen,
Oh how I wish I can be there. I was there for Carnevale in 2008. Coolio was the angel. He came down sitting on a large letter O. I was a little disappointed, I wanted to see a angel with wings....LOL.. But I loved being there just the same.

Vicky said...

Ciao Karen!

I've been a silent lurker enjoying your blog for many a month but seeing those fritelli just made me want to write. How I do love a fritelli...

Anyway, thanks so much for all the wonderful blogs. I will continue lurking, loving your updates and feeling very nostalgic.

All the very best to you and Mike.

Vicky & Steve from London

Andrew said...

Ooh fritelle, Karen. Yummy.

karen said...

Andrew- I'm going to keep a running count of the Fritelle's I consume this season. Even though I am going to TRY to find some will power- I fear it's the frittelle's that will win out. So far, the score is Frittelle 2, Karen 0!

Are you going to make a quick trip over during Carnevale???

karen said...

Ciao, Vicky and Steve! We miss you, and think of you often! Buon Anno!!!!

Don't just lurk, I hope you will post a comment more often. Let me know if there is anything specific you would want me to write about, I'm open for new topics!

How's school? Are you finished?? When might we see you again?????
Big hugs from Venice to both of you!
Karen and Mike

karen said...

Ciao, Maxine!!! How are you and Tom?? LOL-- the first time we were here for Carnevale I saw Coolio doing the Angel flight also!! Last year the wind was so strong they had to take the wings off, they said it wasn't safe. I love it too!

We are amazed at the mild weather this winter, and the unusually low tides in the canals. We've had Aqua Alta only once, back in late November. We wait for the other shoe to drop!

Good to hear from you!

Vicky said...

Karen - no Carnevale but we're probably over in May and it would be fantastic to see you both. We miss you too! And I want to see this bionic knee in action.

School nearly over thanks - hope to finish sometime this year...

Will post more often but as to topics, I love all your posts so just keep them coming please.

I'll drop you an email with our May dates and fingers crossed you are around!

Vicky xxx

Andrew said...

Sadly we won't be there for Carnevale this year, Karen. You better have my share of fritelle. Our son and his partner are having a civil partnership ceremony in Cape Cod in June so funds are being directed towards that. We may get over in the Autumn perhaps for the Salute Festa if we have any dosh left.

Anonymous said...


Question: You say that the angel descends to the stage where the Doge is waiting. Given that the office of the Doge ended with the end of the Republic in the late 18th century, I take it that this is a symbolic "Doge"? Or does it survive in a symbolic way?

I love reading your adventures!!! I've been perusing Venetian Real Estate ads and dreaming.