Being called as ‘La Serenissima’ meaning ‘the most serene’ with reference to its magnificent and mesmerizing character, Venice is a matchless city. You feel speechless against the greatness of the palaces and the marble churches, built on wooden stakes along the Grand Canal. You might think that this city is an engineering wonder because it is constructed on marshy swampland. The city residents who are aware that Venice is the work of a frantic bravery colored the world with the Venice red paintings, music, Marco Polo’s spice road scents, and boho-chic styles instead of leaving this place. You might come across shoemakers who make bill shaped shoe toes, chefs who prepare gourmet dishes with a passion unique to Italians, and musicians who run from concert to concert with their cellos from the 18th century at the narrow passages of the city, which has a respectable place in the world thanks to the number of the artistic master pieces per square meter.

The most splendid costume party of the baroque period
The most inspiring time of Venice is the ‘carnevale’ time. The most flamboyant costume party of the baroque period is actually the celebration of the arrival of spring. Venice became an important trading town between the 6th and the 9th centuries as the middleman between west and east that exported fish and salt. Spring meant a time for celebration for Venice; because, setting sail was up to the seasons for the sailing vessels of Venice. In the past, slaves hiding behind masks used to take their masters’ place for only a day during the religious holidays celebrated in honor of the Saturn God. The carnival takes place between January 23 and February 9 this year. Ancient Greece, Renaissance, and then the festival had taken effect with the birth of Commedia dell’Arte, Italian Comedy of Art, at the end of the 15th century. In time, San Marco has become the center of the carnival and visitors who have come from around the world have watched the actors on wooden platforms, set.

History behind the mask
Today, the symbol of the carnival, ‘Bauta’ used to be a folk mask, which the government of Venice enforced in the 18th century. Making some politic decisions meant including the public in the process. Public had to wear these masks during liberal, equalitarian ballots. Bauta is also known as the Casanova’s mask in the world. It is completely white and covers whole face, except eyes. The mask has a protruding nose and it is worn with a tricorne. This gives the person who wears it a dark and sneaky impression. Moretta and Pantalone are also among the widely used mask types. Moretta, which is oval and usually made from black velvet, used to be worn traditionally by women during monastery visits. Pantalone used to be worn by the players of Commedia dell’Arte to symbolize a trader who had wrinkles and a large nose.

A palace masquerade without quadril cannot exist
The festival begins with the ‘La Festa delle Marie’ parade that goes through the whole city. The parade that departs from San Marco goes through the streets of Venice, takes place at jousting and other fun competitions. Masquerades are organized at many palaces of the city. The Grand Masquerade is usually thrown at the Grand Palace. Anyone who knows how to do the French dance called quadril and wears the appropriate apparel can attend to these balls. Calcio storico (a football show from the medieval times, played with medieval outfits) matches are played at San Marco. Another parade that consists of pompous and splendid costumes takes place in here. Fancy boats and gondolas, carrying masked passengers advance through the Grand Canal. The masquerades that are open to public are not cheap and if you consider renting a costume that doesn’t include shoes and mask, this means that you might be facing an expense as much as your travel budget.

The most beautiful drawing room of the world
A remark attributed to Napoleon calls San Marco ‘the most beautiful drawing room of the world.’ The square is the heart of the carnival. The most dashing feature of the square where St. Mark’s Basilica, the Clock Tower, the Campanile, the Doges Palace, and the residents of Monastery Doges are located is the marbles. A Florian cafe, among the stops of the carnival, from 1720 takes place at the square. The famous cafe is also known by its place in history. When the Austrians occupied the city within the acts of the Vienna Congress in 1814, the Venetian patriots retreated to the Florian cafe and the invader Austrians settled into the Quadri cafe right across. The competition between the two cafes continues even today. Florian, which is preferred by writers and artists, take you to the carnivals of the 18th century.

Don’t resist getting lost in Venice. This actually means freedom from the tourist crowd. When it is time to go back to your hotel, surely you will find an Italian who will lead you behind a mask.

You can purchase a mask from Ca’ Macana to enter carnival spirit.

The authorized guides of the carnival: Consorzio Comitato per il Carnevale di Venezia, Venezia Marketing&Eventi, and Un Ospite di Venezia.

The most elegant masquerade of the carnival is Ballo del Doge, which takes place at Palazzo Pisani – Moretta.

Locando Orseolo is an impressive hotel with its ambience and its rooms where you can find carnival characters, costume party themed murals, Murano glass chandeliers, and masked appliqués.