Carnival Knowledge


The Fest: Venice hosts a tony and sophisticated affair—picture costume balls along the canals with guests wearing Amadeus-style masks.

Party Central: The hot ticket—and an expensive one at $480—is the city's official ball, at Pisani Moretta Palace. The hostess, Baroness Romana von Schilgen, is a stickler for period dress authenticity. Tourists (and pigeons) flock to St. Mark's Square, where the costume competition is judged by famous designers like Vivienne Westwood.

The Costume: Constructed from artisan papier-mâché, the most popular masks are the long-nosed type. They evoke doctors from the plague era, who would place a vinegar-doused sponge at the end of a long breathing apparatus to protect them from disease.

Da Funk: Live classical music: Party like it's 1799.

Da Drunk: Prosecco; Bellinis.

Historical Twist: Napoleon abolished the fest in the 1790s, as did Mussolini in the 1930s.

The Big Moment: Fireworks over the Grand Canal.

The Hangover: Lent begins when the bells of San Francesco della Vigna toll. Visitors buoy their sprits by carbo-loading with risotto made with aged carnaroli rice and squid ink.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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