The carnival of Venice, Italy, takes its name from the latin carnem levare, or in modern Italian, carnevale- the farewell to meat. This venetian festival has its origins as far back as 1090, although most scholars date its beginnings in the compagnie di calze or stocking companies
of the 15th century. These were private social clubs whose members identified themselves with different colored hose. From these
humble beginnings was born the carnival- a festival where anyone, including the ruling classes, would don costumes and masks
as an excuse for breaking social barriers, assuming different identities, and indulging in all manners of carnal pleasure. The
event always ended on martedi grasso or fat Tuesday, the day just before the beginning of the catholic Lent.
The many other carnivals around the world, such as the mardi gras of New Orleans and the carnival of Rio De Janeiro, are all modern day
festivals of this same venetian ancestry. In Venice today, the event occurs during the ten days before Lent and is concentrated in
Saint Mark’s Square. The elegant venetian architecture and unusual micro climate of this location provide a spectacular
atmosphere in which one can enjoy visitors from around the world dressed in sumptuous costumes.
Click here to see photos in this gallery