Monday, February 11, 2013

Carnevale in a Jam-Packed Venice!

     This past weekend was one of the last weeks of the grand Venetian celebration of Carnevale. Stephen and I joined some friends on Saturday morning to take a train ride into the city. We left the train station at 9:00, but since the train was packed with people, we didn't arrive until about 11:00 in the morning. The celebration was everywhere, including right outside of the train station where lots of people were buying masks and getting their faces painted.

     After having a quick lunch, we started on our walk to Piazza San Marco where most of the festivities happen.  During Carnevale, visitors are urged to wear masks and dress up--which is about all I know about the holiday.  In the morning we saw lots of kids dressed up as if it was Halloween (think superheroes, animals, etc.) but most of the adults wore classic garments.  Even though there were no parades happening, there were costume contests on a giant stage at the end of the square.  

    We walked around the square which was much more crowded than our last visit to Venice.  It was mostly people enjoying the different costumes and masks of the adults who really went all out.  I'm not sure if they are paid to dress up and walk around to have their pictures taken because normally in Europe there will be people on the street dressed up and they ask for money to get your picture taken with them.  Instead, at Carnevale, there are lots of people dressed up in (what looks like) very expensive costumes and they want you to take their picture.

     We walked around and saw the Bridge of Sighs and more of San Marco's Basilica which is attached to the piazza.  Everywhere you walked there were lots of people and more costumes to see.  We took a few pictures, but did not go into the church.  Stephen and I still need to spend a normal day here in Venice because it is beautiful, so we will be planning to come back in a few weeks to spend some time.

     We spent a lot of time in the square and then met up with some other friends who were visiting and then decided to get dinner before we had to return to the train.  As we walked out of the dinner, it had already gotten quite dark and there were a lot less people on the streets.  Moving around in between the buildings in tiny streets was slow and difficult during the day, but at night it got a little bit better.  Stephen and I bought two masks before we got on the train because the last thing we wanted to do was carry around a bag of delicate masks all day.  If you look at my Twitter feed to the right you can see my tweet about the masks and then after that is a link (it probably looks like random letters, but hover over it and click) which will show you the masks we bought!

      Venice is gorgeous and we loved being able to have fun and partake in this holiday!