Valentine’s Day and Carnival in Venice (Italy)

To visit Venice and to visit Venice during “Carnival” are two entirely different experiences. I understood this only last year, when my friend asked me to join her for a short photo tour to Italy. I was not very excited about the destination as I had fresh memories of my previous visits to this financially draining tourist trap but I decided to join her for the company and photo opportunities rather than anything else.

Carnival in Venice, Italy - 2015-02-12

My previous visits were during the summer months, when Venice is packed with tourists, but this time it was very different. The Venice Carnival has a strong tradition and is more for fun than commerce. I came back loaded with great photos and precious memories. The cost was also relatively low, we found a good, affordable hotel Universo Nord (→ my review and tips on tripadvisor) located within walking distance of the train station in Venice with connection to Treviso airport. Flight tickets were low-cost too. As far as I remember my friend paid for the Ryanair flight from Warsaw to Venice (via Brussels) 12 EUR return. When I tried to match her route a few days later I paid about 100 EUR (→ original info in Polish).

Carnival in Venice, Italy - 2015-02-12

The streets of Venice change into a huge theater during carnival time. Additionally it was a Valentine’s Weekend, which attracted many couples celebrating a romantic getaway. A doubly special occasion. The crowds of people in unique costumes were walking across the town from dawn to dusk and late into the night, eagerly posing for photographers. Whole families were putting on a show: adults, kids, even dogs!

Carnival costumes in Venice are treated with the highest level of attention, no costs are spared and all details are carefully selected: dresses, masks, wigs and elaborate accessories. The high quality of attire calls for respect. Everything looks very authentic and it is just great to be a part of this fun performance. The fine craftsmanship evident in the design, materials and every stitch of the costumes is quite surprising nowadays, since “Made in China” is so widely present in our lives that extraordinary quality has become a rarity.

Carnival in Venice, Italy - 2015-02-12

Photographers from all over the world come to Venice every year loaded with their heavy gear. The cameras and lenses, which I saw there were even more impressive than the carnival show, at least to a shutterbug as myself.

Ladies, lords, monstrosities and undefined creatures could be seen strolling about, greeting one another in every conceivable language all while posing together in various configurations. The whole masquerade was done for pure fun, there was no commerce in it, nobody put out a collection box seeking coins. Satisaction was the only reward: the winner was the one who had the more popular costume and more photographers around. Sometimes models and photographers exchanged contacts, so maybe some potential future jobs were in the offing as a bonus.

Anyway, enough said, let’s see the photos. The gallery is very big, but so much was going on that I could not stop myself. See if you can.