Review of Venice Carnival 2016, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2016 last from January 23 to February 9. 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. 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, the pride of Venetian craftsmanship.

The 2016 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “Creatum: The Carnival of trades”, the most authentic soul of Venice involving the metropolitan territory. The 2016 edition is a centuries-old symbiosis with the Serenissima and its secrets and Piazza San Marco becomes a “Village of Wonders”, conceived by the scenographer of the Fenice Massimo Checchetto, in which the artisans with their productions tell us the unique history of Venice in which are accompanied by the performances of the Harlequin furioso curated by the Teatro Stabile del Veneto and the music curated by the Fenice with the lyric repertoire of the Brass Operà.

The Arts and Crafts was the protagonists of this Carnival. A great stage where arts, crafts and traditions become the protagonists of venetian history. Like in an ancient workshop to discover how a face mask is created or a precious costume is made.

CREATUM as an idea of restart, as a rebirth of the ancient origins of Venice. The names of the streets and fields of the city such as “calle del forno”, “ruga dei oresi”, “campiello del remer”, “fondamenta dei vetrai”, “calle dei fuseri” or “frezzaria” are a hymn to the arts of trades, and find their maximum expression in Piazza San Marco. As in a village of wonders, created by the scenographies of the Teatro La Fenice, the artisans and their excellences tell us the unique history of Venice.

For the public, masks, weavers, tailors and glassmakers open their shops in Piazza San Marco as in the Venice of the 1700s. The smallest or most delicate activities was amplified in the square on a large screen. Actors and masks emphasize the important moments and passages of craft activities; the foundations to convey the message that the traditions and arts of Venice are real, unaltered and present in the city for centuries. The scenic “machina” of Piazza San Marco thus frame a large living picture with masks, costumes and fabrics, where the arts of crafts are framed by glimpses of Venetian life of the past, where theater and music alternate up to a final triumph.

Calli and Campi of Venice also become places of musical and theatrical performances together with the mainland, where the Carnival spread making this festival a spectacular showcase of the long tradition of Venetian civilization. While preparations and re-enactments re-propose, right in the factory par excellence, the Arsenale, the relationship between Venice and the professions. Thanks to the collaboration with the Venetian museums and cultural institutions, thematic cultural itineraries for visits, extraordinary openings, temporary exhibitions, iconographic itineraries was proposed.

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
The Venice Carnival 2016 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 two-weeks Carnival. The Carnival also bring Music back to the fields and alleys and along the canals of Venice, transforming the party into a traveling Carnival.

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 2016 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.

It starts on Saturday 23 January during the now usual Venetian Festival, in the popular Cannaregio district. 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.

Saturday 30 January 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. A bridge as a stage and a Ferris wheel as the arrival of the Angel, to complete a fairytale setting, created with the collaboration of the scenographers of the Gran Teatro La Fenice – where the most anticipated traditional events are staged: the Festa delle Marie, parade historian of the 12 girls in splendid Renaissance costumes;

Sunday 31 January the Flight of the Angel from the Campanile di San Marco , interpreted by Irene Rizzi , ‘Maria’ winner of the 2015 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, from Thursday 4 to Tuesday 9 February , an explosion of events, parties, parades: in Piazza San Marco, Sunday 7 February, 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 2016 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.

There also carnival events on the Venice mainland. During the two main weekends, the animation returns to Piazza Ferretto and the competition for the most beautiful mask, which saw the involvement of hundreds of children.

The following was the program of the 2016 edition:

The Venetian Water Festival – Part 1
Grand Opening of the Venice Carnival 2016: ” The charm of the rediscovered arts. An exciting encounter with the Venetian Traditions”. The Rio di Cannaregio becomes a stage for water and air to celebrate the Arts and Crafts of Venice and its lands. A magical plot of sounds, artists and colors that intertwine on the water to surprise us and make us rediscover the taste of living the simplicity and strength of our traditions.

The Venetian Water Festival – Part 2
The traditional masked water procession along the Grand Canal to blow up the party in Rio di Cannaregio with the Venetian specialties offered by the members of AEPE.

Feast of the Marys
The traditional “Festa delle Marie” recalls the homage that the Doge brought annually to twelve beautiful and humble Venetian maidens, generously equipping them for marriage with doges’ jewels. The historical parade , accompanied by the costumed historical groups of the CERS and the Friends of the Venice Carnival and the International Association for the Venice Carnival, starts from San Piero di Castello and arrives on the stage in Piazza San Marco for the official presentation to the public of the Carnival.

The Banquet of the King or of the Dust of Cyprus
The official Dinner Show of the Venice Carnival: the experience makes you relive the atmosphere of the ancient glories of the Republic of Venice, the fulcrum of the then known world, when the Arsenale factory sparkled with statues, decorations and fires, celebrating the King of France , King Henry III of Valois, who was amazed and amazed. And Henry III of France in person to welcome in the area of “The Club”, recounting his visit to Venice and the times in which he visited the Arsenal, alternating the presentation to arias and music of opera, surprising you in its interpretation. Lulled by the narration, he introduces you to the pleasures of the palate while entertaining the diners during the gala dinner.

The Flight of the Angel
The Angel of the Venice Carnival 2016 Irene Rizzi descends from the bell tower of San Marco wearing a wonderful costume by Atelier Stefano Nicolao. The Doge of Venice and the city authorities welcomed her.

The Flight of the Eagle
The bass player flies over a colorful square full of umbrellas singing the Hymn to Joy, heedless of the rain like the thousands of people who filled the square. He descends from the Campanile di San Marco, interpreting the Flight of the Eagle in an innovative way. At the stroke of 12.00, Saturnino Celani , one of the most famous Italian bass players, hovers over Piazza San Marco dressed in the colorful dress designed and made by Francesco Briggi’s Atelier Pietro Longhi. A costume of great visual impact that makes you forget the greyness of the sky giving liveliness to a Flight of the Eagle made unique by the live musical performance, the absolute first of the Venetian carnival flights.

The Flight of the Donkey – Special Edition
Donkey fly opens the celebrations for the last Sunday of Carnival in Mestre .

Parade of Floats in Marghera
The great parade of allegorical floats and masked groups through the streets of the center of Città Giardino sees a succession of: Sins of Throat, There are those who do not pay attention to expenses and those who do not make it to the end of the month, Von Frankenstein, Pierrot, What is done for vanity , In a gondola in Venice, The crazy farm 2016, Ghostbusters, Magic of a smile, The jungle book, The great beauty, Uncle scrooge and the happy company, The sky and the earth, The man and the animals, The trees and the fruits.

Zelarino Children’s Carnival
The Zelarino Children’s Carnival 49th edition.

The Flight of the Lion
The award ceremony with the coronation of Claudia Marchiori “Maria” winner of 2016. Immediately after the proclamation of the Svolo del Leon ceremony, the banner of Venice rises towards the San Marco bell tower, greeting the public and making an appointment the following year.

Cultural Program
The Venice Carnival is a training ground for creativity and cultural production. An artistic offer spread throughout the territory, historical city and mainland, which tells through exhibitions, music and theater, Venetian excellence, its historical crafts. The cultural review of the Venice Carnival 2016 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 to become protagonists 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.