Just got back from my trip to Venice during the city’s busiest time of year: Carnival. Let me tell you, I’m absolutely in amore. From the romantic canals to the narrow-winding streets, the tiny bridges to the Venetian Spritz – I’m planning the elopement now.
A lot of people thought I was crazy going to the most romantic city in the world over Valentine’s Day as a solo traveler, but I ended up having the perfect time. There were tons of young singles in my hostel (the beautiful Generator Venice, BTW. Sub-par food. Winning atmosphere.) and it wasn’t hard to meet new people.
The tradition of the Venice Carnival began in the 11th century, making it one of the oldest Carnival traditions in the world. The Venetian Republic promoted the festival as a way to give the people time for fun and parties. They allowed them to wear masks 24/7 as a way to assume complete anonymity, meaning that people of different classes could mix together and indulge in one’s pleasures (Possibly Real Fact: at one point, 20% of Venice’s population were courtesans). The idea was that people could feel liberated to do whatever they wanted before the period of Lent, however this obviously caused a lot of chaos and danger in the streets and they eventually had to restore normality.
Sounds like some kind of alternate-reality/Utopian thriller-flick. I’ll start writing it right away.
Today, Venice Carnival is a far shadow from the alcohol-soaked party it was hundreds of years ago, but it’s still one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world, and the hundreds of festival-goers make it even more special.
As long as you can ignore (or in my case, embrace and mock) the millions of like, super-professional photographers (this includes me, I can laugh at myself) who are all apparently reproducing every inch of Venice through their terrier-sized Nixon/Cannon/Nimbus 2000 XbCX, it’s impossible not to get completely floored by the total beautify of it all.
Sorting through all these photos (I took nearly 800 in only 4 days) was time-consuming and gave me severe separation anxiety, but hopefully you like them.
First night in Venice and I’m already finding all the stay cats.
Coulda been perfect
Bridge of Sighs
You can find every vendor on the streets selling beautiful masks.
View from Doge Palace
Inside the Bridge of Sighs
Glorious St. Marco’s
Otherside of the Bridge of Sighs
These are the Canadian-specific masks.
Venetian Fritelle: A typical donut-like sweet eaten around this time of year in Venice. (The ones on top, not the ACTUAL donuts on the bottom)
Looking over the grand canal in Venice
Costumed guests pose for a picture.
Inside St. Mark’s Basilica
Inside St. Mark’s Basilica
Inside St. Mark’s Basilica
Every turn was picture-perfect.
Tough to get a picture without someone jumping in the middle.
Waiting for my guide for a free walking tour.
Even if it’s only 30 seconds long, you’ve got to ride a gondola while you’re in Venice!
One of the oldest restaurants in Venice.
The ‘Redlight District’ of Venice
The next morning I hopped over to Murano, the neighboring island of Hand-blown Glass.
Checking out the Glass Museum of Murano – definitely worth a look, and was already included in my Museum pass!
Loved the modern works of this glass (really!) sculpturist.
If you can ignore the hoards of tourists, Burano was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been.
Abandoned house – it’s for rent! Who’s in?
No idea what this means, but I bet a lot of people take pictures of this door – if they can find it.
Short trip to the Lace Museum to escape the cold for a minute. Tip: If you have to pay to get in, it’s not worth it. No one seemed to care who entered the museum, so I got in for free and stayed about 15 minutes in total: including using their toilets, borrowing their lockers to rest my back and sitting down for 5 minutes to check the Vaporetto schedule.
While getting lost in the side streets is a ton of fun, sometimes its nice to rest your feet and take a ride on the Vaporetto – Venice’s water bus system.
I can’t afford a gondola tour of Venice, so this was the next best thing.
Easily the weirdest thing costume I saw this weekend.
A couple of ladies heading off to a masked ball.
Strange Carnival activities in St. Mark’s at night. We still don’t understand what it means.
Perfectly-timed interception my friend. Bravo.
There are 100 Korean tourists cropped out of this photo.
Foggy day by St. Mark’s
Some of the masks were so creepy!
My favourite costumes all weekend.
Surprisingly the only real sign of Valentine’s Day I saw in Venice! Everything else was just generally more romantic.
These are the masks I would buy if I could afford them!
More looking through glass photos
Sunset over the Grand Canal
This is me trying and failing to get a picture of myself at Venice Carnival, so that you know I didn’t just download these pictures off the internet.
Naturally the last day is always the warmest and sunniest. Alla prossima, Venice!
I PROMISE I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN ONE DAY, VENICE!!
While everyone was taking photos of the masquerade, I was taking a photo of everyone.
What kind of photographer are you?
- The Snob: My camera is worth more than your car and weighs more than your dog
- The SelfieStick: If I’m not in the picture, it’s like I was never there.
- The KoreanTourist: If I don’t take a picture of absolutely everything, it’s like I was never there.
- The I’ll-simply-make-a-video-of-everything-including-this-non-moving-statue
PS: check out more pics of beautiful Murano & Burano!