Every year Venice celebrates Carnivale in a big way, attracting revelers from all over the world to partake in the pre-lent celebrations that happen all over the world. This year the kick off was on Saturday the 11th with the water parade starting festivities that will continue until the 28th. We mis- calculated the dates as most of the activities peak next weekend with all the big costumed balls and events throughout Venice reaching a climax on the 24th for Fat Tuesday but nevertheless we are having a ball! Don’t miss my video on the spectacular Water Parade and Carnivale kick off in Venice, Italy- bottom of this post.
We had made costumes back home for a previous Halloween party and since they fit the Venice theme perfectly we made arrangements to ship them out prior to our trip. We just added a few embellishments, made matching carnival masks to add to the package, sealed it up, had the kids take it to the post office and hoped it would arrive on time. It was a bucket list item to wonder the canals of Venice and partake in the costumed festivities, well what a blast we had!
Saturday afternoon we donned our regalia and headed out to meet some friends for the Carnivale parade, we were lucky to have a friend that lives in Venice as a guide for Japanese tourists and has all the insider tips. We left timidly, at first thinking we might be the only ones in Venice in Costume. We left our apartment, walked down our quiet alleyway and entered onto a busy street like the Disney characters that emerge and then disappear at the famed theme park. We were the only ones in costume, mobs of people seemingly looking at us like we were from another planet. Then we would emerge into a piazza and someone would ask to take a picture with us, then a crowd would form and people were butting in front of each other to get our picture or be in one with us. Cameras were flashing and we didn’t know which way to look, the paparazzi rapidly snapping pics and we felt a bit overwhelmed until we soon settled into our roles and enjoyed the temporary fame! We had to help organize who’s turn it was to have a photo with us as to avoid a scuffle as people would innocently jump in front of someone else’s pic.
We managed to tear ourselves away and headed to the Rialto bridge for our meeting point. At the bridge we caused a little excitement with the photogs, a group from Turkey asked us to take photos with them and invited us to join them for a coffee while we waited for our friends to arrive. So much fun meeting interesting people from all over! Our friends arrived and we headed to the Cannaregio Canal for the big parade although we slowed them down a bit as we’d have to stop for requested photos along the way. Although very crowded and hard to get a good spot to see, the parade was a mesmerizing spectacle. Have a look at the video below to see some of the highlights of the water parade and Carnivale kick off- it made the BBC news.
Sunday afternoon we put our renaissance garb back on and headed for Saint Marks square where we wanted to have a Prosecco at the Famed Florian café that has been serving well heeled Venetians since 1720. A bit expensive but well worth the experience of soaking in the ambiance at this historical place, I think we added to the ambiance for some of those in the café. We spent the afternoon posing for holiday pics with tourists from all over the world, it was a real kumbaya experience and neat to know we’ll be in thousands of photo albums. If anyone comes across our photos on You-tube, please send us the link- it would be neat to know where they end up as some were taken by professional photographers. Luckily, we weren’t the only ones in costume. Many fantastic ones emerged in the square and I had to change roles from being the subject to the photographer so I could grab some pics of my own. There was a real sense of community and camaraderie, maybe a bit of competition also as we met with other costumed revelers. We then hit a few cafes for a prosecco here, a spritzer there and ended the day slipping away into our dark alley leaving our adoring fans for some needed rest.
Now we know what its like to be George and Amal, well maybe Signore Marko and Madame Janetta! This fame thing is addictive, we might fly to London with our costumes on!
Click on the Photo below to see the amazing water parade;