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Carnival in Venice on our own

Carnival in Venice on our own

Old Jun 12, 17, 10:40 am
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Carnival in Venice on our own

Hello, we are thinking of visiting Carnival in 2018. There are many travel agents that will sell expensive itineraries that will include balls, and I assume that's the only way to get to one without too much hassle and the need to own costume (they will rent you one).

The question though, if we will just go on our own, walk the streets, etc. - will it be enough entertainment visible to the person without special access/bookings?

Any help wil be greatly appreciated.

AX
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Old Jun 12, 17, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by AX9465 View Post
Hello, we are thinking of visiting Carnival in 2018. There are many travel agents that will sell expensive itineraries that will include balls, and I assume that's the only way to get to one without too much hassle and the need to own costume (they will rent you one).

The question though, if we will just go on our own, walk the streets, etc. - will it be enough entertainment visible to the person without special access/bookings?

Any help wil be greatly appreciated.

AX
This is a matter of taste. If you walk around the streets, there are tons of Carnevale activities, and you will see many, many people in full costume, and some just wearing a mask. In Piazza San Marco they also have festivities, although that wouldn't be to my taste. If that's what you want to do, it's free. It's something like New Years Eve in Times Square.

All of the full costumes are rentals. It's very expensive. To rent a full costume to walk around Venice for one evening during Carnevale costs about 350 euros. And then to go to a ball in a costume, you are going to pay quite a bit more. It's a matter of taste if you want to do it.

Some people just buy a mask, or something like that to get into the spirit, but a full costume is very costly, if that's what you like.

If you do buy a mask, I suggest you find an artisanal shop, and not one of the tourist traps where you buy a fake mask that isn't worth taking home. I have a Japanese friend who spent three years learning how to make masks, as a work of art. It will cost a little bit more, but will be something of value to take home.

It is a matter of taste as to how far you want to go with it. These pictures are from this year's Carnevale. I'll bet the lady in white spent 400-500 euros to walk around in that. The lady with just make-up, you can do that for 150-200 euros. The group of four in full costume, I'm sure they spent quite a lot on that, at least 1500.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 11:59 pm
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I have visited Venice during Carnival. The first time it was such a shock to sit in a restaurant dining with patrons who were in full costumes and others were wearing street clothes. I discovered that many, if not most, of the most active participants were tourists from other parts of Europe. Apparently, few Venetians get in to the spirit. It is definitely a festive time to be in Venice but all things considered I would prefer to be in Venice in November when it is not quite as lively and hotel room rates are not inflated for Carnival time. As Perche said, you can see a great show of people wearing their costumes just by strolling the neighborhoods, but most notably, the larger Campos and , of course, San Marco. It is definitely a lively atmosphere.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 5:17 am
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Thank you Perche and Obscure2k. Your feedback is encouraging towards attending. Can you or anyone else please advise re: whether it is better to visit towards the beginning or towards the end (or in the middle) of posted Carnevale dates?

Many thanks in advance
AX
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:56 am
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Originally Posted by AX9465 View Post
Thank you Perche and Obscure2k. Your feedback is encouraging towards attending. Can you or anyone else please advise re: whether it is better to visit towards the beginning or towards the end (or in the middle) of posted Carnevale dates?

Many thanks in advance
AX
The strange thing about Carnevale is that it seems to be mostly a weekend thing. As Obscure2k said, it is mostly europeans coming down for the weekends. During the week you see people walking around in costume, but it is a little bit busier than before or after Carnevale. During the weekend everyone floods in, mainly from other areas of Europe, and it gets packed. During the beginning or the end is a matter of choice. It kicks off with some type of princess, usually an actress, flying down what is like a bungee cord from the clock tower in Piazza San Marco. It ends with a big fireworks display over the water near San Marco. There are events pretty much every night.

"Carne" is the word for meat, both in Italian and Spanish
"Va" is the word that means go, also in both Italian and Spanish
"Le" is an article, like the word "it."

Carne-va-le means "meat goes away." It is a celebration for people to party before fasting, meaning no meat for 40 days prior to Easter. Venice extends it for weeks. They even have Carnevale parties a week before Carnevale starts. Because the whole thing lasts a few weeks, but it does peter out during mid week, so if you want to experience it make sure you are there for the weekends. There is something every night, but the weekend is when it really happens, when people from all over come to Venice.

If you can be there at the beginning, the flight of the angel (Volo del Angelo), who is always called Maria bungee cording down from the clock in Piazza San Marco to start it off, that is good, but the final weekend is better. It's more festive, more party like, so I'd lean to that.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 12:54 pm
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Just a quick note that Italian wiki gives two alternative theories for the "vale" part of Carnevale, neither of which interpret the "le" in the way noted above: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnevale
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