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Whats on in Italy? Carnevale di Venezia

The carnival of Venice is an annual festival which is held in the city of Venice, Italy. This year the festival is held from the 31st January to the 17th February 2015. It is believed that the event first began from a victory of the Serenissima Repubblica (Republic of Venice)  against the Patriarch of Aqulieia, Ulrico di Treven in the year 1162. To honour this conquest the people of the city started to dance and make reunions in San Marco Square.

In 1797 the festival was outlawed by the rule of King of Austria and the use of masks became forbidden. The Carnival returned in1979 when the Italian government decided to bring back the history of Venice.

The event is known for its elaborate masks and have always been an important feature of the Venetian carnival. Many people in the town disguised themselves for long periods of time with these masks as they were generally worn between the festival of Santo Stefano St. Stephens Day, (December 26) until the midnight of Shrove (Pancake) Tuesday.

Mask makers created beautiful designs made from leather, porcelain or glass, with a simplistic design which had a symbolic and practical function. Commonly, the attire worn was a cloak with a long-nosed mask, also well-liked were masked couples, where a man and a woman would dress as figurative characters.

The city bursts into life during the Carnival filled with masked party-goers posing and dancing. Venice was transformed into a money making wonderland filled with gambling dens, brothels, theatres, cafes, restaurants, ropewalkers, and exotic animals. Originally, attracting foreigners including princes from all over Europe and now in modern times attract many tourists from around the world.