Venice - Carnivale - Part 1

Bucket List: Carnival - Venice - check! For 2017 the celebrations began on February 11th and continue through to February 28th.

Anyone who has ever read my Dizzy Traveler blog knows I'm madly in love with Venice, Italy. But what I had never done was Carnivale. And this trip proved to be as exciting as I hoped that it would be.

Holiday lights along side of Piazza San Marco

With my travel partner Bud, we arrived in Venice in the early evening, 3 days before the kick-off of events. 3 million visitors pour into this magnificent and mystifying floating city for Carnival and I wanted to get settled into our Airbnb and familiar with our neighborhood, the Dorsoduro before they all arrived. I had stayed in this part of Venice two years ago and loved how open it felt compared to other areas in the city. It's also very quiet but still there are exciting taverns, restaurants, galleries and museums. Our apartment was located next door to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.

Searching for our front door we discovered a cherub, our guardian angel, looking over us in the alleyway.  Either way, it's a very safe neighborhood. In fact, all of Venice is. A local friend of mine once told me, "There is very little crime in Venice because we are all looking out for each other." Then she paused and said, "Plus, this is a very expensive city to live in, the crooks can't afford it!"

This was a beautiful apartment and it overlooked Peggy's Museum and gardens. And beyond was the stunning Santa Maria della Salute. Look at the these views from our windows!

And inside, the apartment was perfect.

If you want to check it out, here's a link to our apartment, the Mansarda Magritte. What's good to know, there's a full service supermarket not far away plus you're very near to the Accademia Bridge and the Santa Maria della Salute vaporetto (water bus) stops. The apartment looks just like its pictures only better. So much space and light and the decor is very simple but elegant. The kitchen is easy to work, clean and we used it a lot, especially for breakfasts. Upstairs is a great and large loft area, perfect for getting away from others to read a book or write, with tons of light. I already miss the church bells tolling gently in the background.

Basilica San Marco
As we ventured out to explore, Venice, this trip, seemed to be gleaming under the noon day sun.

The Clock Tower

View of Piazza San Marco from our water taxi.

Interesting note: Carnival in Venice dates as far back as 1268 but when Austria took over Venice they outlawed it in 1797. It wasn't until as recently as 1979 that Carnival was reinstated and has now become the world famous event that it is.

So, I needed to find a mask for Carnivale! All year long, but especially leading up to Carnivale, you can find all sorts of masks for sale in the city, from the very cheap to the extremely expensive.

But I headed over to one of the oldest and most prestigious mask making workshops in Venice, Ca' Macana.
I also love that it's just off Campo San Barnaba where Katharine Hepburn filmed parts of Summertime and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade shot some scenes. There are several great restaurants in this area too.

And here, I took forever, to finally chose my handmade leather and signed Pulcinella mask.

Looks like I'm going to rob a bank.
With the opening night ceremony a day away, and with the full moon guiding us, we decided to stroll through Venice and . . . 

 . . . we found to our delight, that the streets and alleyways were virtually empty. Unheard of in Venice. We had it all to ourselves.

Rialto Bridge in background, lit up and empty!

Another Campo beautifully lit up and empty!

However, as we turned a corner, that's when the shenanigans began.

A gigantic carnival puppet started following us surrounded by his band of noisy minstrels.

Great fun but as we made our way back to the Dorsoduro and through Campo San Stefano before crossing the Accademia Bridge, the calm before the exciting storm returned.

Campo San Stefano, normally clogged with tourists.

Part - 2 - Carnival ceremonies, restaurants, museums and much more.

Buona Notte

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