Venice, Italy

Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Feb. 16th we headed down south for the famous 'Carnevale Di Venenzia.'  Each year there is a theme to the carnival and this years event was dedicated to writer and playwright Carol Goldioni, one of the most representative artists in Venetian literary and theatrical tradition.  We saw the outside of his home but did not really learn much else about him.  We spent our three days there walking around (once took a Vaporetto = water bus), checking out the various costumes, shopping for our own masks, enjoying excellent seafood (and wine!), and fighting the crowds of observers (which were everywhere!) The weather was pretty nice (low to mid 50's) and that made everything all the more enjoyable. 
 
Despite the crowds, we found Venice ('The City in the Sea') to be as charming & enchanting as we had the first time we visited here 10 years ago.  It is so fun to explore all the tiny alleys lined with homes, shops, and restaurants. Also fun that many of the streets dead end into canals... This time though we did not get lost as many times as we had before; we could always follow the crowds which inevitably ended up in San Marco Square or to the Roma Piazza (where the bus station is). 
 
The majority of the carnivals public events (costume parade, music shows, etc) took place in San Marco Square.  Here you could walk around and check out all the people who were dressed up (they too were strolling or posing for pictures)! There were also a couple of parades at the square - on a stage - where the best of the best flaunted their stuff!.  The costumes were so elaborate and most were very beautiful.  The majority of the people wore the traditional masks and ball gowns but many also dressed up as if it was Halloween - we saw the Smurfs, Medival Knights, Snoopy, Tweedy Bird, etc... Children were also dressed up and they really seemed to enjoy the event (there were lots of kid-friendly venues set up throughout the city). 
 
The Venice Carnival did not have the same crazy feel to it that we associate with New Orleans Mardi Gras or the Carnival festivals of Brazil.  The event was pretty laid back with lots of families there and few overly-drunk-obnoxious people wandering around.  We had a great time!
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