Venice Carnival 2010 - Six Senses Six Sestieri

06.01.2010 In: Vacation rental news

Carnivals are celebrated around the world in hundreds of cities, ranging from celebrations that attract just the odd few tourists to those that attract hundreds of thousands of spectators. Many of the larger ones are internationally renowned, such as the Rio Carnival in Brazil, though in Europe one of the most popular Carnivals is celebrated in beautiful Venice, Italy.

When and Where is The Venice Carnival in 2010?

The Carnevale di Venezia is an annual event that is steeped in history, dating back to the 1200’s and earlier. Although it has not taken place every year since it first began, it has been an annual occurrence since its revival in 1979.

Like Carnivals around the world the specific dates for the Carnival of Venice are dictated by Easter and so they vary somewhat from year to year. You can work out the dates for future years by knowing that the Venice Carnival begins two Fridays before the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday! Confused?! Basically it starts on a Saturday then runs for one and a half weeks until ending on Mardi Gras Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. For 2010, this means the Venice Carnival will happen from Saturday 6th February to Tuesday 16th February.

The whole of Venice becomes a platform for the Carnival with different events happening here and there. St Mark’s Square is usually the hub, but during the nearly 2 weeks of celebrations you’ll find people wearing masks all over the city.

Of course Venice is one of the world’s most popular cities when it comes to attracting tourists anyway. You can combine your Venice Carnival experience with sightseeing around this truly beautiful city; enjoy a gondola on the canals, cross the famous Rialto Bridge, marvel at the architecture of St Mark’s Square, and visit just a few of the many excellent museums. And although Venice has hundreds of places to stay, from 5 star hotels, to holiday rental homes, to accommodation for those on a budget, places do get booked up quickly for the Carnival of Venice. Make your arrangements as early as possible.
What is the Venice Carnival ?

Like the majority of carnivals around the world, the Venice Carnival has its main roots in the religious calendar – read more about the history of the carnival below – but what sets the Venice Carnival apart from others is the masquerade aspect of it.

The Venice Carnival has its origins in the mid to late 1100’s though it was not until 1268 when the event had grown and masks first made an appearance. By 1296 the Carnival of Venice became an official event and the Senate of the Republic declared the day before Lent as a public holiday.

Since way back in the 17th century the Carnival of Venice has been a top tourist attraction, attracting wealthy Northern Europeans who came to city to enjoy themselves. The fact that masks were worn meant that people could remain relatively anonymous, and it allowed the lower classes of Italian society to rub shoulders with the upper classes. This type of celebration combined elements of earlier Roman and Pagan festivals were festival-goers could let loose and enjoy debauchery!

The masks remain the trade mark of the Carnival of Venice and there are many excellent shops in the city where you can buy a mask, from the most beautiful to the frightening! Masks are on sale throughout the year, not just during Carnival time, though obviously during Carnival time they are in much higher demand!

Visitors will find that along with many people wearing masks and lavish costumes there are numerous different events taking place around the city. The arts, including ballet and theatre, music and other performances usually take a central seat though the exact schedule varies from year to year. The events for the 2010 Carnival of Venice have not yet been announced, so visitors who are interested in finding out more can check the organiser’s official website nearer the time.
A History of the Carnival

Though many people think of the Carnival as being a time of partying and revelry it’s sometimes easy to forget that the tradition and history of the carnival was generally dictated by the religious calendar. It’s true today that many of the visitors who come to enjoy the Carnival of Venice are coming for the experience and to see the masks and exquisite costumes that people don during this time, forgetting the fact this is essentially a religious event. So how exactly did the Carnival come to be?

Well the exact origin of the word ‘carnival’ is disputed, though two common origins have similar meanings. Some say the word comes from the Latin, ‘carne vale’ meaning ‘farewell to meat’, while others believe it is the Italian phrase ‘carne levare’, meaning ‘to remove meat’.

The idea was that the carnival was a way of using up rich foods and meat just before Lent as the forty days of Lent was a time when no rich foods, fats, dairy, meat or sugar should be consumed, and no parties or other celebrations could take place. So the whole community would get together and have a huge party, in which the idea was to eat, drink and be merry!

However, celebrations like these can sometimes be traced back even further, as much as thousands of years. Some aspects of ancient Roman festivals, such as Saturnalia, are said to have been incorporated into the Italian carnival, and in other parts of the world the origin of the carnival comes from pre-Christian times, proving that a Carnival does not necessarily have to be a religious event. The famous Notting Hill Carnival in London for example, takes place in the summer and is very much a non-secular festival.

All being said and done, the Carnival of Venice is a major tourist attraction and it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian or not. This is a fun and entertaining event that can be enjoyed by everyone!
Visiting the Carnival of Venice

The Carnival of Venice is visited by people from around the world and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. If you want to be one of those thousands who visit the next Venice Carnival you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need to buy a ticket to gain entry into the city so you can enjoy the general celebrations for free. Once the programme of events is advertised for 2010 there may be some special events that you wish to attend and for these you may need to buy a ticket to gain entrance. Keep checking the Carnival of Venice official website for further information on this.
Getting to the Venice Carnival

Being such a popular city Venice is well connected to Europe and the rest of the world. Most visitors will likely come by air, and with so many people visiting the city at once this is probably the best option for travelling to Venice.

By Air:

Venice is served by two international airports the major of which is Marco Polo International Airport on the mainland, yet only a short distance (4.9 miles /8km) from the city centre. There’s an excellent choice of airlines from around the world offering flights to here including British Airways, Air France, Delta Air Lines, KLM, and US Airways.

The second airport is Treviso Airport, but at 12 miles (20km) from the city centre it is further to travel. This is used by some budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air.

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