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Venice Carnival Masks

Masks are a very important part of Venice Carnival. Traditionally people used to wear masks from St. Stephen's Day till Shrove Tuesday, a day before Ash Wednesday. But in 1797, the carnival came to a stop and was discontinued for almost two decades when Austria took over Venice. Later too in the 1930s, the Fascist government also stopped the carnival. It was very recently revived in the 1980s and now the people of Venice celebrate the carnival for two weeks

Masks of Venice Carnival
Venice carnival is a fascinating ancient festival of Italy. The fiesta that starts two weeks before the Ash Wednesday and continues until Shrove Tuesday is a grand event of acts and entertainment. Featuring parades, masquerades, ball dance, and musical extravaganza, the major highlight of the celebration is the masked ball dance, and costume parades. Venice carnival masks are the star attraction of the festival that adds splendor and grandeur to the celebrations. Available in various sizes, shapes, and forms, these Venetian masks are the central feature of the festival.


Venetian Masks for Carnival

Venetian masks, as it is believed bridge the gap between the sophisticated elites and the general mass. The masks are made either in leather or of the original glass technique. The original masks used for the carnival had simple design and decoration that often had a symbolical meaning. Now-a-days, most of them are hand-pained, made with the application of gesso and gold leaf decorated with feathers and gems.

Venetian masks are generally either made with leather or using the original 'papier mache' technique. The traditional masks are simplistically designed and properly decorated fulfilling both symbolic and practical purposes. The modern masks mostly are for decorative purposes and are made with gesso and gold leaf. They are painted and ornamented with gems and natural feathers.

Venetian Carnival mask Types

Here is a look at some of the Venetian Carnival masks that are largely used in the carnival -


Bauta is referred to the mask that can fit on the entire face. It features a sharp chin line and no mouth. These masks are decorated with glitters and other decorative. Masks covering only the upper part of the face from the forehead to the nose and upper cheeks are also available. This is the most popular type of mask that is worn by the people during the carnival. The mask, even though deceiving your identity, offers you all the chance to move about freely and sometimes even engage in a romantic indulgence. During 18th century, the masks had become a standard society mask and disguise controlled by the Venetian government.



Moretta is an oval mask made of black velvet that is also largely worn by women during the Venice carnival. This mask was initially invented in France, but soon became popular in Venice. It is said to bring out the feminine features. This mask is usually worn with a veil.


Volto or Larva

The Volto or Larva, as it is known, is by far the most popular mask used during the carnival season in Venice. Volto means face and designing this mask was quite simple.

Venice carnival masks are the most popular element of the carnival that has almost became synonymous to the fiesta.

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