The Carnival of Venice (Italian: Carnevale di Venezia)
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. The festival is world famous for its elaborate masks and masquerade balls. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, 40 days before Easter. According to tradition, the Carnival of Venice started in honour of the victory over the Patriarch of Aquileia in the year 1162, when the people started to dance and celebrate in San Marco Square. The Carnevale in Venice has been celebrated non-stop since the 13th century and the culture of masking has a long tradition in Venice. By the time of the Renaissance, masks were a fixture of Carnevale celebrations and the Venetians were celebrating Carnevale in style by the 16th century. Venice’s Carnevale festivities went downhill with the Austrian conquest of Venice in 1798, along with mask-wearing as well. After a long absence, Venice’s Carnevale returned in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice and the long-forgotten art of mask-making was brought back by a group of Venetian artisans. Today, about three million people travel to Venice every year for the Carnevale di Venezia.