Review of Venice Carnival 2015, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2015 last from January 31 to February 17. The romantic water city sometimes covered by dense fog, full of stories and mysteries. As the oldest and most awaited festival in the lagoon 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. This year Venice offer a very rich book of performances, shows and events related to food and wine and its products of excellence. The literary, theatrical and musical tradition, both national and world-wide, offers many ideas which inspire the artistic and scenographic choices.

The 2015 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “The most delicious party in the world!”, good taste, quality and refinement, the 2015 Venice Carnival opens to the triumph of flavors, palate and the pleasures by good food and wine. The enhancement of the excellence of the territory continues and is strengthened which, collaboration with important artistic realities including the set designers Angelo Lodi, Guerrino Lovato and Massimo Checchetto, the costumes of Atelier Nicolao and Atelier Longhi by Francesco Briggi, this year open to issues related to food and good taste.

Expo Milano 2015 partner of the Venice Carnival. “The tastiest festival in the world!” is the festive declination, the Venetian homage to the universal exhibition “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, which since May 2015 has brought to international attention issues such as nourishment of the planet, the production of food and the enhancement of cultural traditions.

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. The scenic “machina” of Piazza San Marco, the Gran Teatro, was embellished with triumphs of food and garlands of vegetables; staging and scenic re-enactments at the Arsenale re-propose the relationship of the city of Venice with food: markets, large banquets, the fascinating arrivals of exotic foods that from Venice spread throughout Europe.

The anthropological relationship with food wascome a reason for spectacle, thematic cultural itineraries for visits was proposed, extraordinary openings, temporary exhibitions dedicated to the cycles of works that testify the material culture connected to food in Venice; iconographic itineraries focused on food in the places of the sacred; theatrical and comedy performances; fairy tales for children between fantasy and gluttony.

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
“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 gastronomy and its products of excellence. Literary, musical and theatrical tradition, both national and international, offers several suggestions that inspire the artistic and scenic choices.

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.

The program dedicated to theater and music is rich and varied. The art of masking had one of its greatest expressions in Venice. The 2015 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.

The carnival starts from Venetian Festival, in the popular Cannaregio district. The river of Cannaregio is transformed into a real water stage with a show that enchants thousands of spectators every year, where floating structures transfer the theme of the Carnival onto the water. A themed show on the water and on the shores open the Carnival. The day after, the Venetian Festival with the historical procession of decorated boats: the tradition of Venetian rowing marries the Carnival by offering the public present along the Rio di Cannaregio dishes of Venetian cuisine from sardines in saor to bigoi in sauce up to sweet and fluffy fritole.

Piazza San Marco opens to the public an extraordinary stage where the arts and traditions of Venice come to life like ancient shops, visitors feel like on the set of a film. The Flight of the Angel, when a beauty pageant winner gets to ride a zipwire from the campanile in St Mark’s square, takes place on February 8. 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 search for the year’s best costume is the chance to strut your finery on the stage erected in St Mark’s square. A day’s best and a festival finest competition run side-by-side, with twice-a-day heats; the grand finale for the festival best takes place on February 17.

Key Carnival events also take place inside the Arsenale, Venice’s magnificent if under-used historic shipyard. In a half-way-house between a son e lumière and a strobe-swept disco, the huge spaces play host to water-borne pageants, re-enactments, street artists and bands. It also host events for the the Kids’ Carnival

This is accompanied by evening and night shows at the Venice Arsenal, with outdoor urban masking performances, the sumptuous King’s Banquet, the official gala dinner of the Venice Carnival which, together with “The Club” and the Dance Machine, where guests was taken back to the times where the splendor of the Republic of Venice, the fulcrum of the world, echoed.

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 2015 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.

One of the most extravagant is the Valentine’s Grand Masquerade Ball – held on February 14 at the Palazzo Flangini. 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 2015 edition:

The Venetian Water Festival – Part 1
The enchantment of taste, celebrated in the heart of Venice, in a magical intertwining of water, earth and sky, officially opens the 2015 Venice Carnival, with “The magic banquet – A fable of food in Venice”, an extraordinary show inspired by food and poetry. The River of Cannaregio is transformed into a real stage of water and air, where floating and flying structures bring to the stage the beauty of taste, the conviviality of the table, the light-heartedness and the wonder of art.

The Venetian Water Festival – Part 2
The traditional feast of all Venetians that inaugurates the Carnival with the water procession of the Venetian Rowing Association Coordination starts this year on the melodies of the Suspended Pianist, Paolo Zanarella. After having rowed along the Grand Canal arriving in Rio di Cannaregio, a convivial moment with the opening of the food and wine stands by AEPE, with cicheti, Venetian specialties and traditional Carnival sweets par excellence: fritole and galani.

Nights at the Arsenale
The Arsenale of Venice is dressed in magic, theater, music and sensational pyrotechnic effects on the water and turns into the Carnival at the Arsenale. Scenographic staging realized in collaboration with the Gran Teatro La Fenice, every evening a program introduced by the animations along the “Riva delle Maravegie”. The year dedicated to taste could only bring on stage “Il Signore del baccalà”, an original theatrical show based on the novel “Far from Venice” (ed. Marsilio) with projections and video- mapping, and drawings inspired by “1432, The Venetian who discovered cod ”(ed. Hazard), dedicated to the history of the stockfish and the mythical journey of its involuntary fifteenth-century discoverer Piero Quirino. Final fireworks display.

Carnival Factory and Arsenale Carnival Experience
At the end of the theatrical show, the entertainment continue, from 22.00, in the tense “Carnival Factory”: live concert, scenic choreography and nuveau cirque performances continue until 11.15 pm, when the “Arsenale Carnival Experience”, dj-set, music and entertainment open.

Dinner Show Temptations
Temptations, the official Dinner Show of the Venice Carnival, a magical evening, with performances between the tables and shows that go through the night, aerial acrobatics and ad hoc sets. Like food, the show is first of all inspiration and pleasure, the body is expression and art is a tool: it’s up to your pleasure to take advantage of a table of passions and flavors. Nu’Art show.

The Flight of the Eagle
Giusy Versace, Paralympic athlete, winner of the television program “Dancing with the stars”, plays the Flight of the Eagle. Of Calabrian origin, Giusy Versace in 2005 lost both legs in a terrible car accident during a business trip. An event that put everything back into play, forcing her to change her life. After more than a year and a half of hard training Giusy returns to walk and in 2010, thanks to carbon prostheses, she began her adventure as a Paralympic sportswoman becoming the first Italian athlete to run with bilateral amputation (category T43). In 4 years Giusy has collected 9 Italian titles, a European record in 2012 and several national records on 60, 100 and 200 meters.

Feast of the Marys
The winners of the 2015 edition of the Festa delle Marie have been elected at the Venice Casino. These are Irene Rizzi 19 years of Dese elected Maria of the Year and Elisa Canese 20 years of Campalto who won the vote of the Gazzettino readers!

The mythical journey of Quirino, who discovered cod
“Il Signore del Baccalà”, an extraordinary original theatrical show with projections, video-mapping and exciting sound effects, dedicated to the history of the stockfish and the mythical journey of its involuntary fifteenth-century discoverer, Piero Quirino, was staged twice every evening, at 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm, followed by each replica by the pyrotechnic fireworks on the Arsenale basin.

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 2015 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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