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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Festa Veneziana- Carnevale Kick Off 2013

This weekend Venice celebrated the kick off of Carnevale 2013. Officially, the dates of Carnevale this year are February 2- February 12.  This weekend was sort of a pre-Carnevale kick-off for locals.

 Traditionally, Carnevale, which dates back to the late 1090's, was a period several months in length of great merriment and partying ending 40 days before Easter (coinciding with Lent).  The arrival of the Austrians in 1798 brought Carnevale to an end for Venetians.  The event was revived in 1979 by a group of local artisans, however only for a period of 11 days. The exact dates of Carnevale change each year depending on when Easter falls.

Last year, for the first time, Venetians celebrated the beginning of Carnevale with the Festa Veneziana, born of the desire to  give locals a Carnevale event reminiscent of old days, just for themselves, before the masses of tourists descend on the city.  Last night on Cannaregio canal the first event took place, a parade of spectacular floats on the water.  Midday today on the same canal Venetians decked out in masks and costumes participated in a celebration marked by a cortege of brightly decorated boats. The main boat carried La Pantegana, a large winged rat, up the canal to the Ponte de Tre Arche, where the rat was hung suspended from the bridge by a rope.  Accompanying the rat up the canal were boats decorated as a seagull, a fish, a lobster and a seahorse.  At the completion of the boat parade,  the boats docked alongside the canal and all the rowers hopped off to go have a bite to eat and drink at the many food stalls set up canalside.  Local restaurants and bakeries provided typical Venetian food (bacala and polenta, sarde in soar, bigoli in salsa, pasta fagoli, frittele, galani) and drinks ( wine and prosecco) for all.

Here's a little selection of my photos from the day to give you a taste of Carnevale 2013!

The canal side was littered with bags and bags of confetti, one of the the harbingers of Carnevale season.

On the vaporetto with me this morning on the way to Cannaregio were this couple, dressed in their Carnevale finery. Just love his shoes!


Each of the local rowing clubs raised oars in the traditional salute as they passed the reviewing stand.

The rat, la pantegana, being transported up the Cannaregio canal on the main boat along with this year's princess of Carnevale.

During the "regular" Carnevale events costumes tend to be very expensive rentals. Today was for very homemade costumes, something everyone could partake in.

The seagull....
the fish.....

the lobster.....

some little mice....

and the seahorse. 

All  wearing the bauta, a very traditional mask also known as Cassanova's mask.

The rat, hung from Tre Arche. 

Boats and residents, lining the streets along Cannaregio Canal. Sun shining, not too cold, it just couldn't have been any better than this. It was a joy to see the locals out really enjoying this special day. 

One of the many food stalls dispensing free food and wine for all. 

The day wouldn't have been complete without one sighting of the most traditional mask of Venice- the plague doctor.

The remainder of the week will be much quieter, as the next Carnevale event isn't until February 2. 
Here's the link to the official website of Carnevale complete with a listing of each day's events:


Anonymous said...

We really enjoyed the festivities today and felt very privileged to share them. Love your photos thank you

karen said...

We probably passed each other on the street!!! Wasn't it a great day??