Venice Carnival Masks

When people think about masks their mind immediately associate it with the wonderful city of Venice. And could they be blamed? Venice Carnival Masks are centuries old tradition in the world and in Italy. They were created in the past as a device of hiding the social class of the wearer, giving him or her courage and freedom to interact with members of the society of a higher or lower rank. This gave birth to many criminal stories, revenges or even romantic encounters, because in the masks world everything suddenly became possible.

Nowadays, painted in vivid colors, with exquisite baroque elements, masks are worn during the Carnival of Venice, taking place at the end of February beginning of March. People from all over the world come to Italy to relive the charm and adventures of the wonderful and mysterious past.

Types of Venetian masks

There are generally two main types of masks: the bauta, or the full face mask and the columbina, the eye mask.

The bauta is a wonderful piece of art, with lots of gilding and no mouth. It has a square jaw line which allows the wearer to eat or drink without having to remove it, thus revealing the identity. During the 18th century it even became compulsory to wear a bauta at political decision-making events, resembling of the nowadays secret ballots voting.

The locals were not allowed to wear weapons with a mask and those doing so were severely persecuted.

The columbina is a mask covering only half of the wearer’s face, having been created for the actresses from Commedia dell’arte. It is highly decorated with gold, silver, crystal and feather and it is held up to the face by a baton with a ribbon. It is said that this mask was created at such because the actresses did not want to have their beautiful faces to be covered completely.

However, in time, this modality of escaping reality and sometimes even law lead to a period of immoral decay and luxury and thus the wearing of masks was banned and restricted to only a few months of the year and then to only a few weeks, nowadays known as Mardi Gras.

Venetian Masks Shops

Venice Carnival Masks can be purchased almost in every shop in Venice. If you travel on a low budget you can buy a one day mask right at the entrance in Venice, immediately after the train station. At the cost of only 5 euro talented artists will paint your face with wonderful ornaments resembling of the traditional masks.

If you are interested in arriving at the carnival already prepared then make a visit at and choose your favorite mask.

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