The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival starts 40 days before easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday.
Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen’s Day, December 26) and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. They have always been around Venice.
Carnival started as a time for celebration and expression throughout the classes, as wearing masks hid any form of identity between social classes. During the 1970s, the Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of their efforts. Today, approximately 30,000 visitors come to Venice each day for Carnivals. One of the most important events is the contest for the best mask, placed at the last weekend of the Carnival.
Photo Credit: Mikael