During Carnevale, Venice’s 12-day, pre-Lenten celebration, the city becomes the greatest stage on earth.
Revelers, attired in fantastical masks and costumes, act out their fantasy of the moment. Some costumes are purely whimsical; others reference characters from 16th-century Commedia dell’Arte.
Grand themed balls are part of the fun. “The Enchanted Palace” ball, for example, will be held this year in a 15th-century palace overlooking the Grand Canal. It channels a certain Count Belvedere, so the fantasy goes, who holds an annual ball to identify Venice’s purest virgin. She must, unfortunately, be sacrificed. (For more details, you’ll have to attend the ball.)
The annual Ballo de Doge, which Vanity Fair magazine calls “the most sumptuous, refined and exclusive ball in the world,” is titled “Art of the Dream” and will evoke Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as the surreal atmosphere of Casanova, Federico Fellini’s memorable film.
The Venetian Carnevale is undoubtedly one of the most elegant celebrations on the planet. Mark your calendar for next year. You may need that much time to assemble a costume in keeping with this wonderful Italian tradition! For more information. go to venice-carnival-italy.com.