Carnevale ~ February 14 – 24, 2009


Photo Credit: mici.macho

Carnevale, also known as Carnival or Mardi Gras, is celebrated in many parts of the world. However, when it comes to Carnevale in Italy all eyes turn to the Carnevale di Venezia, as it is one of the oldest, with it’s first Carnevale recorded in 1268. Carnevale typically begins 40 days before Easter with the final celebration on Shrove Tuesday (Martedì Grasso or Fat Tuesday) which then leads into Lent. This years Carnevale in Venezia will run from February 14th to the 24th and is sure to deliver the beautiful costumes, masks, and intrigue that makes up the Carnevale di Venezia.

I personally have never been to a Carnevale in Italy (yet) but growing up in school we learned about the festival and also the traditional costumes one might find roaming Venezia during this particular celebration.

In preparation for the upcoming Carnevale let’s take a look at a couple of the more traditional and known players of this breathtaking and visually stunning festival.


Arlecchino (Harlequin) ~ known for his jacket and trousers with bright mulit-colored patches and a belt which holds a spatula or slapstick His mask is black with small cut out eyes and crooked eyebrows revealing his trickster nature.


Pantalone ~ usually seen wearing a black cloak over his shoulders over tight red trousers and jacket and his slippers are curled and pointed up at the ends. His mask accentuates a large hooked nose and his beard is long, resembling a billy goat.


Pulcinella (Punch)
~ is a simple costume with a baggy white long jumpsuit and long white hat. His mask is black with a hooked nose and wrinkles.

There are many more characters and masks that have become staples for the Carnevale in Venezia. Which is your favourite?

  1. Chuck Aflitto

    March 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for sharing, Great info!!

  2. Liz

    February 13, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    This is definitely on the list of things to see before I die. I’ve been to Venice twice, but both times just after Carnevale. Great Post!!

    Thanks! 🙂 I haven’t made it to Venice yet but I definitely will…although I don’t want my first time in Venice to be during Carnevale! 🙂 Good luck getting to the Carnevale di Venezia!!

  3. Leanne in Italy

    February 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I have been to Carnevale in Venice a few years ago. The costumes were amazing but the crowds were a little much.

    Last year bel ragazzo took me to Carnevale in Castrovillari (just north of Cosenza) they have a massive parade with floats and all of the costumes. We had a great time and then that night got dressed up with our faces covered and went door to door so people could guess who we were and offer us sweets once our identities had been guessed! A bit like halloween I guess but tradition in the village and most youngish people do it!
    You may only ever hear of venice but there are celebrations everywhere!

    Ya, Carnevale is definitely celebrated everywhere. I don’t particular love crowds but I think I would tolerate them just to experience it once! 😛 I remember hearing about a place near Cosenza that had a pretty big celebration for Carnevale but couldn’t remember where exactly….maybe it’s the one in Castrovillari. I’ll have to check out that one when I’m in Italy as well 😉

  4. susan

    February 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    This was a wonderful post- I would love to be in Venice to experience this first hand! One Day!

    Thanks! 🙂 I always remember in our grade school Italian classes we always colored in a picture of Arlecchino for Carnevale! I really hope to be in Venice for Carnevale at some point…just to see what it’s like first hand! 🙂

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