What is a venetian mask?
What’s their origin?
Is the Carnivale di Venezia an Italian dish?
All your questions answered by “Masks from Venice”.
La Commedia Dell’Arte (in English: Comedy of artists) came to life on the streets and market places of the early Italian Renaissance days, although its roots can be found as far back as Ancient Greek & Roman Theatre! It is indeed a true exciting theatre genre.
This is a colourful and utterly theatrical style that is based on improvisation of scenarios, traditional “stock” characters interacting with each other in a caricaturised way and comical plots with the purpose of arriving at a humorous climax.
These street performers used to wear masks with exaggerated features to make themselves more visible in the crowd. They needed to draw all the attention they could get. Acrobatic skills and dangling dances were used to lure in an audience. By the mid-1500’s they managed to establish the commedia as a theatrical genre.
Characters such as Arlechinno (Harlequin), Columbina, Pulcinella (Punch), The Doctor, The Captain and Pantalone emerged from this theatre tradition and are the ones that not surprisingly gave the names to some venetian masks.
As years went by, this theatre genre travelled all around Europe while being influenced mostly by its interaction with the French tradition. From composers to actors, La Commedia Dell’Arte has touched many artistic souls, from tv shows like Seinfeld, to Charlie Chaplin and Cezanne, this sort of comedy is still present nowadays.
The Carnival of Venice is internationally well known and a must for all authentic venetian masks fans and collectors as well as for wandering travellers. It’s a majestic display of beauty, each attendee payed a superb attention to every detail in their attire and it’s worth every second.
It’s impossible not to feel lost but at the same time marvelled while walking around the gigantic parade of splendid masquerade masks and traditional fancy dress (flowing velvet capes, fabulously embroidered robes and royal looking outfits). Everyone walks nonchalantly yet nobody will say no to stand still just to be admired and be photographed and complimented.
It's said that the Carnival of Venice was started as the celebration of the victory of the "Serenissima Repubblica" against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven in the year 1162. The Carnival as we know it nowadays was brought back by the Italian Government in 1979 in the spirit of generating awareness of the culture and traditions of the city and attracting tourism. Little did they envisage they were recreating one of the most fairy-tale-like events which would become famous on a world-wide scale.
We suggest that if you are serious about visiting this enchanting city at Carnival time you plan well ahead of time, tickets, hotels and private events tend to be sold out months ahead. Oh, and do not forget your venetian costume. They are available to buy or hire in Venice but by the time you arrive there will most likely be little available and the prices charged can be quite eye watering.
Delight yourself with our authentic traditionally handmade venetian masks and join the party.
Ps. To stay up to date with the latest news please visit the Official Venice Carnival site.