Review of Venice Carnival 2009, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2009 last from February 14 to 24. Every year the Venice Carnival offers a rich programme of events, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world. 2009 is no exception, with almost two weeks of celebrations involving all the city with its many cultural centres (the la Fenice theatre, the Bienalle and the Teatro Stabile) in a unique spectacle which always maintains its traditions and sumptuous history.

The 2009 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “Sensation”, and ascribes one of the senses to each of the six areas of the city: Sight to San Polo, Hearing to Dorsoduro, Smell to Santacroce, Taste to Canareggio, while San Marco, the centre of the celebrations and heart of the city itself, hosts Intellect.

Sensation is the Carnival of the people, for the people, where people are the protagonists. It is an opportunity for fun in the truest sense of the term. Venice is experiencing an acoustic Carnival, far from amplification, from deafening rhythms and far from the need to crowd St. Mark’s Square with an important stage.

Piazza San Marco appears in 2009 as an unprecedented Renaissance garden, made of lights and greenery, of decorated theatrical wings. A place where the public can walk, wandering around the dividing hedges and, above all, can parade as a protagonist, showing off their disguise.

The Carnival as an “unplugged” carnival, i.e. an “acoustic” event, relaxed and away from the clamour and pressures of everyday life. Saint Mark’s Square was transformed into a giant open-air salon, with theatrical pieces, gardens and hedges. There was a wider distribution of events throughout the city’s districts and there was a greater enhancement of decoration.

The format chooses the audience as the protagonist, inviting them to dress up and participate. Street theater is the protagonist with a rich schedule distributed throughout the districts, thanks to the presence of companies of the highest quality, Venetian, Italian and foreign. Sensation is the Carnival of people and fun and belongs to Venice and the whole world, it is also the Children’s Carnival: with a series of initiatives throughout the territory.

The Venice Carnival 2009 attracts a large number of tourists from all over Italy and the world for the occasion. The Venice Carnival includes a series of open-air public events that punctuate the Carnival. The most important and festive events are masked balls and private parties organised in palaces to the rhythm of the nights of the Venice Carnival.

The Carnival of Venice, rich in history, traditions and enchanting suggestions, is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the baroque atmosphere of a city full of charm. Venice is full of celebrations that drag the visitor into a kaleidoscope of emotions. The ancient Venetian palaces, architectural jewels, host luxurious masked parties that evoke the transgressive atmospheres, a golden age for carnival celebrations as evidenced by the particular shapes of the costumes worn with pride by the Venetians.

Venice Carnival is one traditions with strong foundation in culture with the significance and beauty. The whole world also gathers every year around this time gaze on its grandeur. Every year, the Venice Carnival turns the city into a spectacular riot of pageantry, colour, musical performances, fireworks displays and glamorous Venetian balls. If you want to experience the exotic atmosphere of Venice at its best, carnival is the time to go.

“Experiencing” the Carnival in Venice mean to savour every moment of the festival by definition. Venice offer a rich calendar of performances, shows and evens linked to its products of excellence. Literary, musical and theatrical tradition, both national and international, offers several suggestions that inspire the artistic and scenic choices.

The program dedicated to theater and music is rich and varied. The art of masking had one of its greatest expressions in Venice. The 2009 Carnival therefore rediscovers theater, opera and comedy not only inside the theaters but also outdoors, on the stage of Piazza San Marco, in the fields, in the streets. A great show in which the world of reality and artistic illusion come together, enhancing all the traditions of the culture of art and crafts of the Venetian civilization.

In the “fat” week, an explosion of events, parties, parades: in Piazza San Marco, the last Sunday, with the final of the competition for the most beautiful mask of the Carnival, the Flight of the Eagle from the Campanile of San Marco; at the Arsenale in Venice the party lasts until late at night. Grand finale on Shrove Tuesday, when the Venice Carnival celebrate the glories of San Marco in the Svolo del Leon, the majestic banner of San Marco, the winged lion on a red field that made the Serenissima Republic immortal in the Mediterranean and in the world.

The glamorous side of Carnival is that of the palace parties: stuccos, golds, velvets and candles, the experience is overwhelming and immersive: between food and perfumes couples of fairies and admirer, queens and courtiers, great leaders, doges, cardinals, comedians and dancers welcome guests who in a few minutes forget the era to which they belong.

Visitors could attend the Gallery of Wonders at the Ca’ Vendramin Calergi Palace, where fine art, comedic performances and delicious food combine with wild costumes and dancing long into the night. The palace then hosts a number of similar events, so nobody need to miss out. Throughout the Carnival of Venice, visitors can also attend masked costume contests in the Piazza San Marco. Contestants are graded on the authenticity of their outfits before the Grand Finale.

Highlight events
The Venice carnival is the most anticipated event of the year in Venice: ten days of masquerade, shows, music, games and colors. The city goes crazy and fills with a cheering crowd. In the living room of Piazza San Marco and in the thousands of other fields you can freely attend theatrical performances and costume parades, concerts and historical re-enactments, entertainment for children and nights of wild dancing, gastronomic tastings and other sensory experiences.

Venice during the Carnival is spellbinding, with a historically rich mixture of performance and dining, and, of course, the magnificent costumes, including the extravagant masks for which Venice is so famous. If you have never had a romantic encounter in Venice, perhaps you have an opportunity to learn why countless generations of impassioned lovers have exclaimed that romance in Venice is the best romance there is. As every year there is great expectation for the Venetian festival, which always attracts a large number of tourists from all over Italy and the world for the occasion.

A period-costume parade take place along the Grand Canal on the 14th February, Saint Valentine’s Day, while Sunday 15th sees the celebrated “Flight of the Angel” with the added bonus of important guests. Also on the Sunday there was the Feste delle Marie, with the selection of the most beautiful girl at the carnival.

The last Sunday of the carnival, 22nd, instead offers the “Flight of the Ass”, a parody of the Angel’s flight, the traditional swimming in the bracing waters of the Lido, a children’s competition, and the presentation of the prize for the best mask of the carnival. “Fat Tuesday” (martedì grasso, mardi gras) is the date for the Carnival of Burano, the beginning of the Carnival of the Dark, a drag-queen competition and much more.

In the Carnival, the streets are filled with celebrants dressed in luxurious, festive garb; experiencing Venice during the Carnival is like stepping back in time, with no modern buildings to spoil the illusion. One can wander the streets, taking in the costumes and street performances, or attend an evening party, an opera or concert, in one of the palaces or hotels accustomed to hosting royalty.

Popular and exciting are also the Corteo delle Marie and the Flight of the Angel which celebrate the second weekend of Carnival, such as the Competition for the most beautiful mask in which costumed groups from all over the world participate, the Flight of the Eagle, the coronation of the Carnival Mary and the shows that close the party on Shrove Tuesday, in a riot of colors, applause, confetti and the grace and beauty of the girls protagonists.

The glamorous side of Carnival is that of the palace parties: stuccos, golds, velvets and candles, the experience is overwhelming and immersive: between food and perfumes couples of fairies and admirer, queens and courtiers, great leaders, doges, cardinals, comedians and dancers welcome guests who in a few minutes forget the era to which they belong.

All of an evening you might experience walking up the stairs of a candlelit palace, expecting Casanova to make his advances; enjoying cocktails over the glimmering Grand Canal, abandoning your senses to pleasure; all while revealing your true identity only to carefully chosen intimates. After all this extravagance perhaps your night is completed by a mysterious, romantic, moonlight tryst, leaving you entranced and breathless, ready to meet the whole experience again the following day.

The following was the program of the 2009 edition:

Dario Fo the First Funny Mystery
It is the Nobel Prize for Literature Dario Fo with the show “Mistero Buffo” to inaugurate the Venice Carnival 2009, ‘Sensation 6 senses x 6 sestieri’. In Piazza San Marco Dario Fo recites the first Mistero Buffo, a famous popular jester, updated with references to Venetian history and culture.

Feast of the Marie 2009
On the day of the Carnival dedicated to tradition, Piazza San Marco welcomes the inevitable Festa delle Marie. Seven Venetian girls chosen, six representing the districts of the city and one from the mainland, parade in an evocative, rich and colorful procession, accompanied by historical groups and ancient costumes.

Venetian Festival 2009
A great party in Cannaregio, animated by the colorful procession of the Rowing Companies and the gastronomic specialties of the district dedicated to taste. The protagonist is the Fritoin Express with the bag of fried fish.

The Flight of the Angel 2009
In 2009, the artistic director Marco Balich revolutionized the scenario by flying his first “angel” Margherita Maccapani Missoni, from the Campanile towards Piazza San Marco to arrive in front of the Correr Museum.

The Flight of the Donkey 2009
The event that for some years has been animating Piazza Ferretto in Mestre is a fun parody of the Flight of the Angel in Piazza San Marco. A guest is therefore the donkey of the 2009 edition, which descends from the civic tower arriving “in flight” to touch the ground. The center of Mestre is filled with real donkeys, in the sign of the incredible, of the surprise, of the desire to laugh that the Carnival brings with it.

The Most Beautiful Mask of the 2009 Carnival
The challenge with masks, never seen costumes, taste and originality animates the new 2009 competition, even richer. Participants and their creations are judged by a prestigious jury of industry experts.

The Bathroom of the Hibernators
A retro setting for a winter swim in the sea waves! The hibernators of the Lido of Venice also enter the Sensation 2009 program.

Cultural Program
Cultural events that take place in theaters, museums and city institutes. The cultural review of the Venice Carnival 2009 puts the city on stage by opening the doors of palaces, libraries and archives, museums and music halls to hybrid, impromptu projects, suitable for the more brilliant and festive context than the atmosphere of the Carnival induces. A largely free or very popular programming with dozens of daily events that outline an artistically vital and exuberant city.

A schedule that is organized for the entire period of the event by connecting the cultural realities of the city, from the Civic Museums to the State Museum Center, including the independent private foundations in a precious calendar of events (concerts, conferences, exhibitions, theatrical and film reviews) on the theme of the Carnival, works that testify to the culture of art and crafts in Venice; iconographic itineraries focused on the arts also in places of the sacred; theatrical and comedy performances; fairy tales for children and theaters, as well as workshops of the art of craftsmanship.

The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. It is one of the best known and most popular carnivals in the world. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks. Its origins are very ancient: the first evidence dates back to a document of the Doge Vitale Falier of 1094, where there is talk of public entertainment and in which the word Carnival is mentioned for the first time.

The institution of the Carnival by the Venetian oligarchies is generally attributed to the need of the Serenissima, like what already happened in ancient Rome (see panem et circenses), to grant the population, especially the humblest social classes, a period dedicated entirely for fun and celebrations, during which Venetians and foreigners flocked throughout the city to party with wild music and dancing.

Through the anonymity that masks and costumes guaranteed, a sort of leveling of all social divisions was achieved and even the public derision of the authorities and the aristocracy was authorized. These concessions were widely tolerated and considered a providential outlet to the tensions and discontent that inevitably arose within the Republic of Venice, which placed strict limits on its citizens on issues such as common morality and public order.

The Modern Carnival
Only in 1979, the centuries-old tradition of the Venice Carnival officially rose from its ashes, thanks to the initiative and commitment of some citizens’ associations and the logistical and economic contribution of the Municipality of Venice, of the Teatro la Fenice., of the Venice Biennale and tourist boards.

Within a few editions, thanks also to the media visibility reserved for the event and the city, the Venice Carnival has returned to tracing the footsteps of the ancient event with great success, albeit in different ways and atmospheres.

The individual annual editions of this new Carnival have often been distinguished and dedicated to a basic theme, which inspires them for parties and surrounding cultural events. Some editions were also characterized by combinations and twinning with other Italian and European cities, thus providing further involvement of the event at an international level.

The current Carnival of Venice has become a great and spectacular tourist event, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who flock to the city to participate in this festival considered unique for its history, atmosphere and masks.

The traditionally most important days of the Venetian Carnival are Shrove Thursday and Shrove Tuesday, even if the greatest influxes are certainly recorded during the weekends of the event.

The holidays
With the first edition of the recent Carnival, a program of events and a detailed calendar for the new major event are simultaneously established. The date for the start of the official celebrations is established to coincide with the Saturday before Shrove Thursday and the end with Shrove Tuesday, for a total duration of only eleven days. Unlike the Carnival of the past, which for a long time had an official duration of six weeks, the modern one takes place with a concentrated program, but full of individual events.

As in the past, the Carnival of Venice still represents a great popular festival for a large audience of all ages. Street parties and events of all kinds animate the days of the groups of masks and tourists, who happily scatter around the city. In addition to the official parties in the square between campi and campielli, still today as in the past various private parties and masked balls are organized in the great Venetian palaces. In these places, rich in furnishings and atmospheres almost unchanged over time, it is possible to relive the ancient splendors and the tradition of the Carnival of the past.

The Feast of the Marys
Only in 1999 the ancient Festa delle Marie was finally restored, with an atmosphere that combines the historical re-enactment of the ancient procession with the girls with a more modern beauty pageant in costume. It was officially revived about six hundred years later, by Bruno Tosi

In the weeks preceding the Carnival, a sort of selection is held among the young local beauties to choose the twelve Marys destined to parade as protagonists of the procession, during the celebration. The party generally takes place on the afternoon of the first Saturday of the Carnival, when the twelve Marys, accompanied by a long procession made up of a procession of bridesmaids, flag-wavers, musicians and hundreds of other figures in period costume, begins its slow walk starting from the church of San Pietro di Castello and heading towards Piazza San Marco, between the wings of a crowd of masks and tourists.

In Piazza San Marco, the next day, the bridesmaids parade again awaiting the official proclamation of the winner of the edition, the most beautiful of the twelve (the so-called Mary of the year), to whom a substantial prize is awarded.

The Flight of the Angel
In the modern Carnival it was decided to re-present to the public, in a guise similar to the original one of the ancient Carnival, the anniversary of the Flight of the Angel, in its variant of Volo della Colombina. While in the past this show was celebrated on Shrove Thursday, in modern editions it is generally held at noon on the first Sunday of celebration, as one of the opening events that officially decree the beginning of the Carnival itself. Until the 2000 edition, above a cheering crowd, with its gaze turned to the Campanile of San Marco, a mechanical bird with the shape of a dove carried out, as in the past, its descent on the rope towards the Doge’s Palace. Approximately halfway through, a trap door was opened in its lower part,

Since the 2001 edition, the first of the millennium, the old formula of the Flight of the Angel has been passed again, replacing the Colombina with a real artist and ending the descent in Piazza San Marco. The 2001 flight was entrusted to the Compagnia dei Folli, which lent its own artist for the event. For each edition, the Angel of the Carnival, secured to a metal cable, makes his only descent from the belfry of the bell tower, slowly sliding towards the ground, suspended in the void, above the multitude that fills the space below.