History of Venice Carnival


History of Venice Carnival

When was the Venetian Carnival born?

Venice Carnival is one of the most famous Carnivals in the world.

The origins of the Venice Carnival are still uncertain. However, it would seem that the history of the Venice Carnival begins in 1094 when Doge Vitale Falier was in power. At that time the Carnival of Venice began on the first Sunday in October and ended in the days before Lent.

The atmosphere was different because compared to today, Carnival lasted about six months and people wore masks the whole time. During the Carnival period all the people, but especially the poorer social classes, were allowed to participate in the festivities and have fun with jokes, singing and dancing. Today, Carnival lasts about ten days, but the anticipation and excitement for this event is present throughout the year.




The masks and costumes

Carnival back then was an opportunity to break down social divisions, a time to put aside problems and worries in order to have fun and entertainment. The mask and costumes ensured anonymity by allowing people to hide their identity.

Anyone could become whatever he or she wanted, taking on attitudes and behaviors even far from the constraints imposed by the social class. For this reason it was customary to greet masks with "Buongiorno signora maschera!”, that we can translate as “Good morning dear Mask!” 



Shows and parties

The custom of dressing up began to become increasingly popular in Venice. Masks and costumes still remain the essence of Carnival. All kinds of shows and parties were held during Carnival. But there were also attractions such as acrobats, jugglers, musicians and acrobats. It was all part of a big masked stage, where actors and spectators merged into one huge procession of figures and colors.

Tributes to the protagonists of Venetian history were great, especially to Marco Polo, Carnival took every opportunity to remember his travels.




Carnival History

In the 1800s Venice became a destination for artists and celebrities from all over the world to celebrate Carnival. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, the quintessential Venetian festival came to an abrupt end due to French and Austrian rule. During this sad period, Carnival continued only on the island of Burano and Murano, home to Venetian artists.

Carnival re-started in 1979 when a group of citizens from civic associations helped create the new edition of the Carnival of Venice, an eleven-day festival full of joy and happiness to celebrate this anniversary, so dear to the Venetian people.

During the celebration of Carnival, the innate nature of Venetian merchants is overshadowed, the fun, pranks, masks, and carefree atmosphere invades the city in a general atmosphere that can be felt, seen, and touched throughout Venice.  The history of Carnival continues to this day, immersing the city in a festive and joyful atmosphere.

Venice Tours

How about really experiencing the city of Venice? Discover the best experiences, tours and itineraries.

  • Venice Carnival Treasure Hunt
  • Create your own Venice mask - Art experience
  • Carnival Dances


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