Unmasking the Venice Carnival of Italy

Posted By

Ravi Goel

The Carnival of the colours, the colours of the Carnival !!!!


The most intriguing thing which never fails to catch the attention of the visitors participating in Venice carnival is its highly decorative, attractive, unique and innovative masks. It seems to have a untold story of its own which will leave you curious enough to understand the story behind these masks.

The Carnival of Venice started with the victory of Serenissima Rebubblica against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico in the year1162.

People were allowed to wear mask between the festival of Santo Stefano on December 26 and the start of the carnival season at midnight. It is often said that covering the face with mask was a unique Venetian response to rigid class hierarchies.

There are also stories of prohibiting the masked person to gambling. It was also made a strict law that people wearing vulgar masks were not allowed to visit nun’s convent. Painting faces and wearing false beard and wigs were also strictly prohibited.


One of the most important event in the Venice Carnival is “The Most Beautiful Mask” contest .

It takes place at the last weekend of the Carnival and is juried by a panel of international costume and fashion designer.

Venetian masks are usually made of leather, porcelain or with a original glass technique. Most of them nowadays are made of gesso and gold leaf and are hand painted using feathers and gems to decorate them.

So the next time you get the opportunity to visit Venice Carnival make sure that you have the best mask to participate in “The Most Beautiful Mask” contest.

Written by Ravi Goel