Carnevale di Venezia
It is said that Carnival was born in 1094
in Venice, when Doge Vitale Faliero mentioned
it for the first time in an official document.
The Senate of Repubblica Serenissima made
Carnival official in 1296 through an edict
fixing the day before Lent as a public holiday.
As a rule Carnival started on 26 December
and finished on Ash Wednesday. However licences
to wear masks by 1 October were often granted,
so that you could take part in banquets
at Lent time too. Therefore Carnival time
lasted some months.
Nowadays over 500,000 tourists come to Venice
to celebrate and take part in one of the
most popular Carnival all over the world.
Visitors stroll around the city, watching
shows and plays and taking part in masked
balls which take place in ancient aristocratic
palaces. In San Marco Square you can watch
the so-called “Volo della colombina”
(i.e. the flight of the small dove) ceremony:
an acrobat gets down from San Marco Bell
Tower along a rope, carrying on his shoulders
a wooden reproduction of a dove strewing
flowers over the crowd.
The so-called “fritole”, i.e.
the official cake of Venice, are sold in
all the stands of the city.