The Venice Carnival 2012 last from February 4 to February 21. The 2012 edition, gives a foretaste of the spectacular energy of one of the most fascinating events in the world. with a rich program of shows, musical concerts, recitals and performances spread in the historic buildings, in the fields and in the streets, as well as in the theaters. Many events that was held during the carnival, grand costume balls, fierce mask contests, towering wigs and a parade of preening, enriched with sumptuous costumes and fascinating masks. From circus to music, from literature to drama, the carnival of the Venetian city this year was a generous carnival staging.

The 2012 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “Life is theatre! It’s time to get masked”, as suggested by the title, dramatization of life with Venice as the capital of theatre. The Carnival in Venice, from the XVI century to the end of the Venetian Republic, coincided with the peak of the theatre season, with many performances not only in the theatres but also in some squares.

This years the attention is focused into the valorization of the city, opening many places connected to the history of the Venetian show business, through a rich program of shows, music concerts, recitals and performances in historic palaces, fields, lanes, as well as in the theatres.

Carnival is about dress disguise and outward appearance transgression, but also another way of interpreting oneself. Whoever wears a mask always discards another: the mask of everyday life. Wearing a mask means giving yourself a new character, a new image: it is a regeneration, a creative process.

Carnival is the free zone that allows you to be what you want. A re-generative cultural content is a response to the general crisis, which demeans, impoverishes, makes us weak even at the value level. Carnival can become an opportunity to get rid of negativity, anger, anxiety, fear, prejudice and make yourself new.

The city becomes a great theater, where all citizens are new characters, called to reveal a new self. Carnival wants to return to its nature as a city happening, a continuous and widespread representation that lasts well beyond the days of recent tradition, invades new places, finds new stages in the cultural spaces of the city. A collective performance, indeed the greatest world performance, where each participant has his part, his show, his audience.

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.

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.

Highlight events
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.

“Life is theatre! It’s time to get masked”, a theme around which artistic and cultural events, shows, events and, above all, a lot of party revolve. The event in the lagoon is historic and from the sixteenth century to the end of the Serenissima Republic coincided with the theater season, hence the theme of this year, since in ancient times people went to the theater in masks.

The main stage was in Piazza San Marco, where the “Gran Teatro” (Greaty Theatre) was set up: a spectacular scenic structure that reproduces the big theatrical machines of the past, and that was the set of some of the main event of the event like The Flight od the Angel, the Parade of the Marias and the Parade for the best masked costume contest.

The Carnival is a big opportunity to involve all the cultural institutions of the city. The quality of the shows is basic to cut in the public. We want to create an event where everyone, from the tourist to the Venetian, should express his own creativity and become the protagonist of the event. Infected by this spirit, the city is filled with a festive crowd and from the large stage of Piazza San Marco to the smallest calle, every corner becomes a magical place where you can interpret your authentic self without fear or hesitation.

Particular or traditional masks, made in the ancient workshops, make-up on the face and above all the largest set of performing arts in the world, in short, a surprising place with a program full of events not to be missed.

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.

The following was the program of the 2012 edition:

The Venetian Festival on Water 2012
The first Sunday of Carnival, the feast of all Venetians, dedicated to citizens and guests of the lagoon city. The water parade of the Rowing Association Coordination sails along the entire Grand Canal until it reaches the popular Rio di Cannaregio, where it parades in a riot of crowds crowded on the banks. When the boats arrive, the food and wine stands open up, offering the public cicheti, Venetian specialties and traditional Carnival sweets par excellence: fritole and galani.

Competition for the Most Beautiful Mask 2012
The most awaited competition of the Carnival is back, at the Gran Teatro di San Marco, with great acclaim. Hundreds of competitors parade on stage, challenging each other with costumes, masks and wigs.

The Flight of the Angel 2012
The “Flight of the Angel” Giulia Selero (Maria of the year 2011) renamed the “Reebok Angel Flight”, with all the characteristics of a real title sponsorship. In fact, the “Maria” Giulia Selero wears, in addition to a beautiful costume specially made by Atelier Nicolao, a pair of sparkling Reebok RealFlex!

Parade of the Marie and Festa delle Marie in Piazza San Marco
The traditional Parade of the Marie starts from San Pietro di Castello at 2.00 pm and arrives in Piazza San Marco at around 4.00 pm, where the 12 selected girls parade accompanied by the historical procession. Directed by Bruno Tosi. Historical parade organized by the CERS with the collaboration of the Friends of the Venice Carnival and International Association for the Venice Carnival.

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Casinoʼ Burlesque 2012
An unforgettable evening of burlesque and refinement, in an exclusive location, with the presence of international level artists who perform at Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi.

The Flight of the Donkey 2012
The traditional event from Mestre, a parody of the Flight of the Angel in Piazza San Marco, again this year sees a “star” in the role of the donkey descending from the Town Hall tower.

The Flight of the Eagle 2012
It is the gymnast Fabrizia D’Ottavio, L’Aquila 2012. Born in Chieti in 1985, she was world champion in artistic gymnastics and won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The Svolo del Leon 2012
The greeting is intended to celebrate the highest tributes to the Winged Lion of San Marco, the symbol of our city which, exceptionally, descend from the bell tower painted on a large scenic cloth to fly over the public in the square. To welcome him on the stage of the Gran Teatro the verses of the hymn of San Marco sung by a Venetian choir, twelve Venetian maidens, the Marys, accompanied by as many cadets in full uniform who greet the banner of Venice.

The Row of Silence 2012
The Carnival ends symbolically, for the second year, with the “Row of Silence”, with a procession of silent gondolas that from the Rialto Bridge reach the San Marco Basin by sailing. When the procession reaches Punta della Dogana the symbolic Toro, a stunning scenic machine, takes off on a barge heading towards the basin celebrating the symbolic sacrifice of the bull.

Cultural Program
Cultural events that take place in theaters, museums and city institutes. The cultural review of the Venice Carnival 2012 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.

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