Review of Venice Carnival 2018, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2018 last from January 27 to February 14. Venice carnival is unique experience,the romantic water city sometimes covered by dense fog, full of stories and mysteries. Many events that was held during the carnival, grand costume balls, fierce mask contests, towering wigs and a parade of preening, strutting revelers as city residents and visitors from around the world take part in its annual carnival.

The 2018 edition of the Venice Carnival revolve around the theme of “Creatum: Civitas Ludens”, evokes the spirit of fun and play during carnival. The game that lends itself to a thousand interpretations and expressions. Code of primary socialization and a tool for constructing adult identities, the game unites man with all animals and is developed in different ways according to the various ages of life. The game therefore as a disguise, invention, change of identity up to its most articulated and complex manifestations such as entertainment, then theater, music, art and circus.

Piazza San Marco and Piazza Ferretto, for the occasion, take the appearance of a great circus, one of the oldest forms of entertainment, made of amazement, technique and magic, where fields and roles, skill and imagination, play and school are mixed. This tradition is inspired by the staging conceived by the scenographer of the Teatro La Fenice, Massimo Checchetto, who to celebrate the tradition has chosen some elements of the Italian circus Togni, used by Federico Fellini in the film “La Strada”.

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 2018 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 most important and festive events are masked balls and private parties organised in palaces to the rhythm of the nights of the Venice 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 annual Carnival of Venice kicks off in the district of river of Cannaregio with the “Festa Veneziana on the Water”, a spectacular free water show which, each year, attracts thousands of spectators, repeat performances are held at 6pm and 8pm. This spectacular show, celebrating the carnival theme of ‘Beauty, the Sea and Vanity’, is performed on floating structures amidst an explosion of images and music. Festivities continue on Sunday 28 January at 11am with a water parade by Venice’s Rowing Association and food and wine tours featuring local Venetian specialties.

The Venice Carnival’s schedule is packed with events. 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.

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.

Venice Carnival come to the finale on February 14, when the huge “Leone di San Marco” – the lion flag that symbolises Venice – is raised to its place at the top of the bell tower of San Marco to be saluted by the Twelve Marias. Earlier in the day, you could also watch the charming Carnival of Youth of Zelarino, which sees children parade in their colourful carts to Venice’s main square.

The following was the program of the 2018 edition:

The Venetian Festival on the water – Part 1
Saturday 27 January, starting at 6.00 pm, with a repeat at 8.00 pm. The Rio di 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 CREATUM Carnival to the water: Civitas Ludens.

The Venetian Festival on the water – Part 2
On Sunday 28 January the water procession of the Coordination of Rowing Associations Voga alla Veneta will leave its moorings from Punta della Dogana along the entire Grand Canal until it reaches the popular Rio di Cannaregio, where it will parade in a riot of crowds crowded on the banks.

Regatta of the Colombine
Sunday 28 January: In Rio di Cannaregio, starting from the bridge of the three arches to the bridge of the Guglie, the women of the Historical Regatta compete for the first time on gondolini, the boat historically used by men. The event is organized by the Venice Regatta Association

The most beautiful mask contest
From 3 February the participants will parade on the catwalk in Piazza San Marco, challenging each other with costumes, masks and wigs in the double daily appointment. The competition becomes even richer in emotions, colors and surprises. Big news for Monday 12 February with two parades dedicated to children.

The Official Dinner Show and Ball – The Carnival gala dinner
From February 3: The majestic Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi palace with its splendid Renaissance rooms is the precious location of the official dinner and ball of the Venice Carnival 2018. The rich menu proposed by the chefs of the Wagner Restaurant, the welcome of Prince Maurice who will conduct guests in the wonder of a daydream, the exciting artistic performances of Nuart

Mestre Carnival Street Show
From February 3: During the Carnival period the streets of Mestre will come alive with street art shows, from the enthralling music of wild marching bands to entertaining clowning shows, up to the amazing performances of circus art.

Procession of the Festa delle Marie
Saturday 3 February: the traditional “Festa delle Marie” starts from San Piero di Castello at around 2.30 pm, will travel along via Garibaldi and Riva degli Schiavoni in a spectacular procession, and will arrive on the stage in Piazza San Marco around 4.00 pm, where the official presentation will take place to the public of the Carnival.

The flight of the angel
Sunday 4 February: The exciting Flight of the Angel of the Venice Carnival 2018 officially opens the Carnival celebrations in Piazza San Marco at 11.00. This year Elisa Costantini will be welcomed in the crowded parterre by the groups of historical reenactments in costume, she will dissolve the tension of the flight in the embrace of the Doge and the public.

Ballad of the Masks with the Cutting of the Bull’s Head
Thursday 8 February: “The Cutting of the Bull’s Head” is the Fat Thursday party of the Venice Carnival which will end with a great show in St. Mark’s Square at 5.00 pm. Event organized by the Compagnia L’Arte dei Mascareri Association.

Carnival of Burano
From Thursday 8 February: On the island of Burano, Carnival is a much awaited and heartfelt event. We strongly advise you to participate in the Festivals in the Piazza scheduled from 8.30 pm on Saturday 10 February and “Fat Tuesday” 13 February 2018.

Parade of floats in Marghera
Saturday 10 February: 12 large masked floats and as many local groups will parade along the streets of the “Garden City”: as usual, the procession will make two passages in Piazza Mercato where, at the end of the parade, the participating groups will be awarded.

Run in Mask
Sunday 11 February: the appointment with Corri in Maschera, the collective training organized by the Venicemarathon Club on the occasion of the Venice Carnival, is renewed. The initiative is free and open to all. You can run or walk and the departure is set at 9.30.

The Flight of the Eagle
Sunday 11 February: Also for the 2018 edition of the Carnival, the show of the flight or, better, of the “flight” of the Eagle is replicated with another spectacular flight from the bell tower of San Marco to the stage. A surprise by Renzo Rosso.

The flight of the Donkey
Sunday 11 February: Volo dell’Asino, one of the most anticipated events of the carnival program on the mainland. The celebrations of the last Sunday of Carnival will open at 12.00 in Mestre and in all places in the municipality of Venice.

51st Zelarino Children’s Carnival
Tuesday 13 February: from 2.30 pm allegorical floats accompanied by masked groups from the various Venetian provinces. To open the show there will be the flag-wavers of Noale. During the parade, galani and pancakes will be distributed and the winners of the Carnival lottery will be drawn.

Award ceremony of the Maria of the Carnival 2018
Tuesday 13 February: the award ceremony with the coronation of the winning “Maria” arrives in the square at the end of the water parade departing from San Giacomo dell’Orio. At 4.30 pm, the coronation by the Doge of the sweetest and most graceful damsel.

The “Svolo del Leon”
Tuesday 13 February: we celebrate the highest tributes to the winged Lion of San Marco, the symbol of our city which, exceptionally, will climb the bell tower painted on a large scenic cloth to fly over the public in the square. The twelve Venetian maidens, the Marie, will welcome him from 5.00 pm on the stage in Piazza San Marco.

The 4th edition Lido in Love
Wednesday 14 February: Lido in Love, a series of initiatives dedicated to all lovers in the magical atmosphere of the Lido of Venice. The Gran Viale and piazzale S. Maria Elisabetta will be set up to welcome lovers from all over the world

Cultural program
Alongside the square shows, a rich program of cultural events curated by Stefano Karadjov in museums, libraries, theaters, archives and city music halls with mostly free events: a Carnival guidebook for citizens and guests, to land in places never visited before, discover an artistically exuberant and vital city in the 150 and more scheduled events, with over 300 artists involved in theatrical plays, concerts, workshops, dramatized visits to all the main public and private institutions in the city.

The Cultural Carnival once again this year has managed to animate the city with dozens of prestigious occasions of curious and brilliant entertainment. Exhausted the capacity of the 8 original shows set up at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo, at the Carlo Goldoni’s House and at the Murano Glass Museum, with over 400 spectators in total, always reaching the maximum capacity that the museum rooms could accommodate in this particular format.

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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