Masks and Costumes of the Venice Carnival and Artisans of the Venetian carnival. Photographs by Simone Padovani and Marco Secchi
According to tradition, Venice's Carnival originated from an important victory of the Venetian Republic against Ulrico, Patriarch of Aquileia, in 1162. To celebrate this victory, people gathered in San Marco Square and started to dance.
The Carnival in Venice history as an official public holiday, however, began only in 1296, when a decree of the Senate declared a public holiday the day before the beginning of Lent.
Venice has reinterpreted the ancient Greek and Roman festivals to meet the needs of the Venetian Republic, which promoted the Carnival to give to the people, especially the lower classes, a time for fun and parties. The Venetian Carnival masks guaranteed total anonymity, a sort of levelling of the social divisions that sometimes allowed citizens to even make a public mockery of authority and aristocracy.
Nowadays People from all over the world attend this unique event of colours and elaborate masks. Tradition and innovation are mixed, and the Carnival of Venice is still a moment for everyone to gather together and party.