But WaitThere's More
Find other great ideas in these related stories:
- Unexpected Spring Break Vacation Ideas ›
- Must-See Christmas Trees Around the World ›
- 'Tis the Season ›
- Holiday Gift Guide ›
- Real-Life Holiday Movie Locations ›
- Winter Wonderlands ›
- 2011 Holiday Travel Gift Guide ›
- Creepy Road Trips ›
- The World's Best Places for Sin ›
- World's Best Airport Bars ›
- Abandoned Places: Ghosts of Vacations Past ›
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.