Carnival in Venice

A very special time to visit Venice is during Carnival. Carnival is the festival that is held just before the start of lent which lasts from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Traditionally Carnival was a festival where artists and acrobats presented their art. The Patriarch of Aquileia brought an ox that was slaughtered and there were exhibitions of exotic animals and animal hunts. Wearing the famous Venetian masks has always been popular. Nowadays, Carnival is celebrated during the last ten days before Ash Wednesday and starts with the Flight of the Angel. This event happened the first time in 1548 and used to be a tightrope act in which an acrobat walked on a tight rope from the shore of St. Mark’s square up to the top of the Campanile and back down to a booth in front of the Doge palace. Nowadays, a celebrity glides from the Campanile down to the square using a wire rope. The high point of the festivities is the parade and award for the best costume on Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Venetians and tourists alike commonly wear masks during the entire ten days of Carnival.