The first official document with which the Carnival of Venice was declared a public celebration dates back to 1296 – an edict by the Senate of the “most Serene Republic,” making the day before Lent a holiday.
Established by the Venetian oligarchy as a concession to the people, its objective was fun and merrymaking, where the mask dominated as a means to briefly ignore any signs of belonging to social class, gender or religion.
Today the Carnival of Venice is an evocative and much-anticipated popular fest, unique in terms of its history, its masks and its atmosphere.
Venice, Italian Venezia, city, major seaport, and capital of both the province of Venezia and the region of Veneto, northern Italy. An island city, it was once the centre of a maritime republic. It was the greatest seaport in late medieval Europe and the continent’s commercial and cultural link with Asia. Venice is unique environmentally, architecturally, and historically, and in its days as a republic the city was styled la serenissima (“the most serene” or “sublime”). It remains a major Italian port in the northern Adriatic Sea and is one of the world’s oldest tourist and cultural centres.