Sunday, February 3, 2013

It's Carnival! Venice 2013

Photo: Carnival of Venice Official Site
(Venice, Italy) As the bells in Saint Mark's Campanile struck noon, "Angel" Marta Finotto took flight and floated boldly into the throng of 70,000 packed into Piazza San Marco to watch the Volo dell'Angelo. Marta was costumed as Columbina, a stock character in the commedia dell'arte, and flew with pizzazz, stricking glamorous poses on her descent. According to a new tradition, the winner of the previous year's Festa delle Marie, an ancient Venetian beauty contest, is the Angel who kicks off Carnevale the next year. The Festa delle Marie was supposed to be held yesterday, but it got rained out -- it poured all day long -- but today is beautiful and sunny, and things are back on track.

Photo: Carnevale di Venezia official site
I've written about this festival before:

OTTOCENTO - From Senso to Sissi - The City of Women - Venice Carnival 2011

La Festa delle Marie originated from a pirate raid in 943 a.d., according to Venetian legend. In ancient times, Venetians married on only one day each year. A water procession from the Arsenale on the canal “delle Vergini” started the festivities. All the brides-to-be were rowed across the lagoon in decorated boats brimming with dowries, while their future husbands waited at the Church of San Nicolò at the Lido.

Photo: Carnival of Venice official site
That year, pirates raided the procession, kidnapping the brides and the booty. An enraged Venetian rescue party executed the pirates and brought the brides back to the ceremony.
To commemorate the victory in the past, every year twelve patriarchal families would present twelve virtuous young women from poor Venetian families with a dowry, and the designation “le Marie,” or “The Marys.”

Bruno Tosi
The biggest thing missing from Carnival this year is the presence of Bruno Tosi, the King of the Festa delle Marie and Maria Callas expert. Sadly, Bruno Tosi passed away on September 13, 2012. But I think I saw him flying next to Marta Finotti -- except he did not use a cable, he used his own wings! Click to read the Bruno Tosi obituary entitled Una vita come un'opera (A Life Like an Opera) at the Corriere del Veneto (in Italian).

The theme of this year's Carnival is Live in Color, a Carnevale dedicated to color itself. "The Carnival of colors, the colors of Carnival: this is the theme of Venice Carnival 2013. Venice is the only city in color before the invention of color itself: Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto, Titian, Giorgione, Bellini, Veronese refined the art of perspective and color painting here in the lagoon. Under the theme of color are the many events of the rich calendar of Venice Carnival: the concerts in St. Mark's Square staged on the spectacular scenic structure of the Grand Theatre, each focusing on a strictly different color theme, the dances and historical performance in the squares, the aperitifs in music as well as all the entertainment for kids. 

Photo: Carnevale di Venezia official site
Click to go to the Carnevale di Venezia official site.

This year, during Carnevale, the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello at Palazzo Pisani in Santa Stefano is putting on a special program called A Music Aperitif.  At 4:00pm on February 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, Venice's music academy is offering guided tours to Palazzo Pisani where you will be able to visit the interior of the magnificent palazzo. Then, at 5:30pm a series of concerts will be performed. After the concert, enjoy a drink of Prosecco and some typical Carnival pastries and cicchetti, traditional Venetian finger food. The price for that unique afternoon and evening is 15 euro, and all proceeds will be donated to the Conservatory of Music Benedetto Marcello of Venice.

Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello
Click to go to the Aperitivo in Musica .pdf file invitation.

This year is the 4th edition of La Biennale's Carnival for Kids, one of my absolute favorite things to do during Carnevale, even though I am a grown up:) The theme is Il Leon Musico, The Musical Lion. It's good old-fashioned creative fun for kids of all ages. I've written about it before:

Too Much Fun! 3rd Venice International Carnival for Kids


La Biennale Kid's Carnival

Here is the statement of Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia:

“Yet another step forward. The 4th International Kids’ Carnival becomes more articulated, more complex and more fun all at the same time. The Director of the Music Biennale Ivan Fedele will personally take charge to lead the children to meet The Musical Lion, to play with him, to experiment, to use colours, musical notes and sounds to build the most stimulating of experiences. We confirm our special attention to the younger generations and the importance we place in familiarity with the arts on the one hand, and creativity as dedicated play on the other. Carnival is an initiative that will harness the combined energy of many institutions and academies throughout the city: so far 110 schools have joined and we wish to express our gratitude to them all.”

This year promises to be even more exciting, so if you've got children, or if you are young at heart, head on down to Giardini and play!

Click to go to the La Biennale Carnival program.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog


  1. As the bells in Saint Mark's Campanile struck noon, "Angel" Marta Finotto took flight and floated boldly into the throng of 70,000 packed into Piazza San Marco to watch the Volo dell'Angelo.