Your cartYour cart

The magic of Venice’s carnival: history, masks and celebrations

The magic of Venice’s carnival: history, masks and celebrations
Travel in Italy



The Carnival of Venice was first celebrated in 1162 when, because of the victory of the Republic of Venice over the Patriarch Ulrico di Treven, the people filled St. Mark’s Square with dances of celebration. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that the tradition actually became official though, and it only started gaining a lot of popularity in the XVIII century. Unfortunately though, at the peak of its fame at the time, the Carnival of Venice was banned completely, along with its masks, by the Roman Emperor in 1797, leading to a great period of absence for this iconic celebration. It wasn’t until the XIX century that the Carnival began reappearing with small parties, only to officially return in 1979 as the Italian government considered it to be one of the most important aspects of Venice’s culture.


Nowadays, as previously mentioned, the Venetian Carnival is one of the most important Carnivals in the whole world and over 3 million visitors come to Venice every year to celebrate it and participate in “La Maschera più Bella”, a contest that started in 2007 that elects the most beautiful mask.



Masks were first made for Carnival in the XIII century, as a way to bring together the lower, middle and upper class with no judgment, as they would cover your face, therefore your identity.

Here’s a list of some of the most iconic Venetian masks to this day:


  • MORETTA: Invented in France, the Moretta is considered to be a woman’s mask because of its feminine traits;
  • COLUMBINA: This half-mask was invented by an actress that participated in Commedia dell’arte because she refused to fully cover her face up as she thought she was too beautiful;
  • BAUTA: Probably the most important mask according to tradition, the Bauta completely covers your face and it was particularly loved back in the day as it would hide your identity. It’s nowadays commonly gifted as a souvenir;
  • PLAGUE DOCTOR: Initially made by French doctor Charles de Lorme to help protect doctors from the Plague, this mask represents the knowledge of mortality;



Visiting the city of Venice during Carnival season is definitely one of the best chances to fully immerse yourself in the history, tradition and art of this city. The 2024 edition of the Venetian Carnival starts February 3rd and ends February 13th. Make sure you start booking your ticket!

related articles


Today we will go over the beauty of living in Florence and explore some of its hidden gems like its ...


Sistine Chapel ceiling: Michelangelo’s masterpiece revealed

Considered to be one of the most important masterpieces in the entire world, the Sistine Chapel ...


Exploring the Uffizi Gallery

The city of Florence is filled with many great buildings, monuments and art and museums that focus ...


The magic of Venice’s carnival: history, masks and celebrations

The city of Venice is worldwide known and loved for its beauty and romantic sites but, one of the ...


A Guide to Authentic Carnival Foods in Italy

Carnevale is one of the most popular winter festivals in the whole world. The Carnival is celebrate ...


Epiphany feast: between legend and traditions

The Epiphany is a Christian feast celebrated on the 6th of January that commemorates the arrival of ...


Taste a special Christmas Dessert of Apulian Cuisine: The Cartellate

If you have ever traveled to Puglia during Christmas time you would have definitely tasted or notice ...


Explore the medieval town of Sant'Agata de' Goti

When exploring Naples' surroundings, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely the beautiful ...


Visit Recanati in the footsteps of Giacomo Leopardi

Sometimes there is nothing better than diving into local culture through the eyes of a poet. While ...