Review of Venice Carnival 2014, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2014 last from February 15 to March 4. The romantic water city sometimes covered by dense fog, full of stories and mysteries. This most magical of cities fills with a mass of masked party-goers, posing and preening, dancing and philandering, in a slightly surreal re-invention of a great tradition of the city. 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.

The 2014 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “Fantastic nature”, a fairytale Carnival, the marvelous and the fantastic linked to animal and plant nature. The goal was to stimulate the audience of the party to rediscover, with individual and urban masquerades, the importance of the fantastic, popular and cultured, esoteric and didactic, in its relationship between man and the environment.

East and West, Asia and Oceania, Americas and Europe, Africa: in the Carnival of the fairytale we look for the masquerade inspired by the historical fairy tales of the European tradition, the Arab and Middle Eastern stories, the votive symbols of African and Mesoamerican cultures, up to the Indian allegories, Mongolian and ancient Catay.

A global Carnival because every culture has, since its origins, drawn on the heritage of the fantastic and the fairytale as a narrative metaphor for life. A Carnival of the present day because the naturalistic fairytale is the way in which to face, in the celebration, the deep themes of the relationship between mankind and the environment: the woods, the valleys, the seas, the mountains, the lagoons and the mysterious animal and plant creatures that inhabit them.

Everyone knows the need of man to tell the mysterious naturalistic through the fable. Planetary cultures, first in the form of myths, then in that of man-made nature of which so much is found in the world fabulous tradition, unfold an infinite deposit of symbols and characters around the creation and origin of life, atmospheric elements, to plant beings and animal creatures.

We rediscover at Carnival the individual and urban masquerades, the relief of the fantastic, popular and cultured, esoteric and didactic, its relationship between man and the environment. Venice is a miracle of the imagination. Interface city of East and West, where myths and fears of monstrous and astonishing creatures from overseas were translated into narration, painting, architectural ornamentation, to then be exported to Europe along the canals and the streets beaten by merchants.

A fairytale world fueled by the scents and flavors of foreigners, grown in the secret sounds of languages ​​that merchants brought from the East and Northern Europe, documented in the idioms of the Princes and travelers who faced the long journey to Venice.

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.

A Carnival that takes you back to the origins, to the continuous drawing on myth, fantasy, the fairy tale as a metaphor for life. A Carnival that, at the same time, wants to emphasize the relationship between Man and the Environment, Nature as a whole, the active protagonist of the fairy tale and myth. Mountains, forests, seas, lakes, lagoons, strange animal and plant creatures have always populated the imagination and populate this fantastic Edition of the most famous of Carnivals: that of Venice.

Nature is an infinite casket of symbols and images to draw from and the fairy tales of every continent was the source of inspiration for the Carnival in the Lagoon. From historical tales of the European tradition to Arab and Middle Eastern stories, from votive symbols of African and Mesoamerican cultures to Indian, Mongolian and ancient Cathay allegories: a legendary and fabulous region where just a Venetian was gently “harnessed”.

The backdrop to the imagination, the myth, the relationship between man and Nature is Venice, itself a spectacle of Nature and a miracle of the imagination. Venice as a Venus rising from the water, as a bridge between two cultures, the Western and the Levantine, Venice as a magical, mysterious, disturbing, magnetic aquatic creature. Cities of East and West where myths, and even fears, of monstrous creatures were transformed into painting, architectural ornamentation, narration.

Starting from February 14, Valentine’s Day, every day groups of comic actors animate, in several languages, the two daily parades during which the most beautiful costumes compete in the usual appointment with the most beautiful mask of the Venice Carnival. The Campi and Fondaci of the city was transformed thanks to real plant arrangements, following the concept of Fantastic Nature. To accompany the immersion in a vegetal and stone forest there was music with a schedule dedicated above all to the youngest. Each Camp have the name of an animal which visitors can draw inspiration from to put on make-up or dress up. On the occasion of the feast of lovers, on February 14 at the Fondamenta Nuove Theater a revisited version of the Shakespearean masterpiece Romeo and Juliet was staged. Definitely a romantic idea to spend a day with your loved one in a special city.

On February 15th the real Carnival wasgin, from this day the modern skating rink was open in the heart of the historic Venetian center, in Campo San Polo. Furthermore, this year the Nordic Walkin Carnival arrive in Venice, which see masked teams participate in a Carnival hunt through 4 itineraries inspired by the theme “Fantastic Nature”. Also on February 15thin Palazzo Grimani there was a show that entertain all children. Within the Perdifiaba project, the Castle of Flowers was represented, an ancient Japanese fairy tale animated by the Pantakin Theater Company. During the performances you hear sounds and also voices coming from the countries of origin of the fairy tale, and at the time of the snack, even on the table the children find a gift from the country they have just visited.

The day of the 15th end with one of the traditional Carnival shows: the Venetian Festival on the water. From 6 pm: 00 of 15 the boats wasgin to move in the Grand Canal of Venice in a great show of lights and sounds. A second part that was staged the following day reaching the popular Rio di Canneregio. When the boats arrive, the food and wine stands open offering Venetian specialties and above all the characteristic Carnival sweets, fritole and galani.

On February 18, as part of the film festival “Microcosms and microworlds”, the film “The man who planted trees” by Frédéric Back was screened inside the Casa del Cinema, a parable on the relationship between man and nature that makes reflect on the non-destruction of what surrounds us. On the same day, inside the University it was possible to follow a conference on fantastic zoology, which also be repeated on Thursday 20 February.

Saturday 22 February, the competition that elect the most beautiful mask wasgin. The costumed competitors parade on the stage of Piazza San Marco, with two daily appointments, the first at 11:00 and the second at 15:00. Two winners was awarded every day, who participate directly in the final to be held on the last Sunday of the party.

This day was full of events, in addition to the competition you can attend the Itinerant Theater “The secrets of Venice”. Visitors was able to follow a company of actors around the city, which lead them to discover the places of an unusual and mysterious Venice. You discover a hole in the wall of a building, from which a devil is said to have come out, you can have a coffee with Casanova, letting you reveal some secrets or have a chat with the Levantine ghost. Meanwhile, the appointments for the little ones continue with Perdifiaba, who on Saturday have to face the cold and frost of the Russian steppe with “the tale of Prince Ivan, the firebird and the gray wolf”.

On Sunday 23, traditionally an acrobat starting from a boat went up to the belfry of the Campanile di San Marco, and descended on the Loggia Foscara of the Doge’s Palace where he offered a floral tribute to the Doge of Venice. Every year this event is repeated, obviously in a shorter and safer journey. There are still doubts about who was the secret guest who in the role of the angel fly from the top of the bell tower of San Marco to the center of the square. Also on this day the itinerant shows of “The secrets of Venice” and the competition of the most beautiful mask continue.

The traditional appointments continue throughout the following week, enriched by exhibitions, new theatrical performances and fairy tales for children that lead the little ones to discover the magical atmosphere of Ireland. Furthermore, on Saturday 1 March there was a masquerade party only for children, during which galani and pancakes was distributed, as well as lots of games and entertainment.

Sunday 2 March, at 12.00 in Piazza Ferretto, in Mestre there was the Flight of the Donkey, a parody of the traditional flight of the angel. A guest disguised as a donkey soar from the Tower and land on the square’s skating rink. The same day, at the same time, but in Piazza San Marco there was the flight of the eagle, where a guest this time wear the costume of the eagle and descend from the Campanile of San Marco.

After this flight of the eagle always in Piazza San Marco there was the Grand Finale of the most beautiful mask, where the finalists compete with original and bizarre costumes to win the prestigious prizes up for grabs. who best interpreted the theme of this year’s Carnival “The Fantastic Nature”.

Tuesday 4 March is the day that closes the great Venice Carnival. On this day there was the final awards ceremony of the Competition of the Most Beautiful Mask and of the Maria of the Carnival 2014. The lucky winner arrive in the square at the end of the water procession that start from San Giacomo dell’Orio and was crowned by the doge.

At 18:00 the winged lion, symbol of Venice, was celebrated with the Svolo del Leon. The symbol, depicted on a large cloth, was placed on top of the bell tower of Piazza San Marco and sent flying over the crowd present. The Carnival then symbolically ends with the Row of Silence, a procession of silent gondolas that from the Rialto Bridge reach the San Marco Basin passing along a Grand Canal illuminated by candlelight.

Cultural Program
Cultural events that take place in theaters, museums and city institutes. The schedule, curated by Stefano Karadjov, is the result of the action of the many prestigious cultural realities that have been able to get online. In the footsteps of Expo, this year’s theme is food, in relation to Venetian civilization and art, music and theater in the lagoon. The cultural review of the Venice Carnival 2014 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.

History
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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