The Venice Carnival began this weekend

The Venice Carnival, considered one of the oldest and most famous carnivals in the world, kicked off in weekend attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe. The two-weeks festival dates back to the 11th century, and is famous for its elaborate masks and costumes, as well as its parties, parades, and other festivities.

This year’s celebrations are held without restrictions for the first time in 3 years, due to the pandemic. As per reports some 3 million people travel every year to Venice to take part in the festivities surrounding the Carnival. The opening ceremony, “two days of spectacle, fun and magic in Venice” kicked off Saturday, under the theme: “Take Your Time for the Original Sign!” inspired by Zodiac and constellations. ”The symbols of earth, water, fire and air move from the origins to originality to become a unique and imperfect sign, an expression of the unique and unrepeatable self.”

Over 100 colourful boats with hundreds of biodegradable balloons paraded on Venice’s Grand Canal, during the Water Procession, led by the legendary 7-metre-long traditional papier-mâché “Pantegana”. The carnival will end on Tuesday, February 21, a day before Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of Lent, the time of fasting before Easter. Until then, the lagoon city will host widespread performances by mimes, clowns, actors, musicians, magicians and many more spectacular events. “The Venice Carnival this year looks back to look forward. A plunge into the past to think about the future,” said the city’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro.

Another major event for lovers of Italian culture starts this week on the peninsula, namely the San Remo Festival. The song contest was first held in 1951 and has since become one of the most popular music events in Italy. The event is broadcasted live on Italian television and radio and attracts a large audience both in Italy and abroad, at this year’s edition, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky was invited to join via pre-recorded video message on the final night, 11 February.