Well, this year I am much much happier. Even though the Venice Carnival is still a major setting for people to show off their costumes (many hand made and prepared by the models themselves as my Facebook friends Sarah and Mike from The Hideway in Marche, Italy, but most provided by the costume shops and ateliers) this year the Carnival was jam packed with tourists and locals alike, some dressed up, mostly in their normal clothes but al having lots and lots of fun.
I had the pleasure (or nightmare, depending on which part of Venice I was) to be in Venice on the last Saturday and last Sunday of Carnival and on Mardis Gras. In all three occasions the main focal points of the City were just so crowded that at some point the local police had to divert traffic to other parts of the city: Strada Nova (the main and easiest route to Saint Mark’s Square), Rialto and Saint Mark’s Square were buzzing with young people, tourists, beautiful masks and funny costumes.
Every single bar, cafe, osteria and pasticceria were so full of people that instead of doing a Food & Ghost tour of Venice I ended up taking my clients only through a Ghost tour, since it was just impossible to get in even just for a drink, let alone to have some cicchetti!
But as soon as you left these three main points, you could easily walk and enjoy the Carnival with its frittelle, its galani and the mulled wine which were on sale on pretty much every cake shop and stall around the city. On Sunday afternoon Kathy from FoodLoverOdissey and I managed to have a lovely and quiet walk all through the Zattere and Santa Maria Della Salute and we even ate a lovely ice-cream from Nico!
I think the fact that we are in the middle of an economical crisis has sort of pushed people to try to find some ways to try to forget the bad times we are all going through and what better occasion than just to walk around in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and just admire people dressing up while eating and drinking delicious food and wine??
I personally hope more people will dress up next year : no need to be the fancy costumes which the ateliers rent out for these special occasion, but just for the sake of fun and laughter, like I did and so many other friends of mine did: I just got myself a pair of horns and a red cape and there I was, a little devil!
Kids and adults could just paint their faces, lot of students from the local art schools were offering their face painting services in the main campi of Venice and in front of the train station.
For few days a year you can pretend to be someone or something else, like it used to be in the old days, when Carnival originated.
So I hope to see you all next year for the most amazing Carnival of the World!