Venice Carnival – An Incredible Festival of Costumes and Masks

Venice is one of the most unique places that I have ever been to (even after traveling 50+ countries), it stood against time with its Renaissance and Gothic palaces, countless bridges and canals, and car-free. If there’s one place that makes you feel travel back in time, Venice is the first one in my mind! Especially during the world-famous Venice Carnival (usually occurs in February or March) where people are dressed up in glamourous Venetian costumes and masks! I was lucky enough to be in Germany for work during the first week of February this year and my travel-addict friend/colleague, Sokunna, planned to do a side trip after our business trip to Venice to experience the Venice Carnival. It was one of the most amazing festivals that I ever attended!

Hotels during the carnival were crazily high but thanks to my slash of Choice Hotels points that I purchased before the pandemic, we stayed at the Hotel Aquarius Venice, Ascend Hotel Collection for 3 nights in a junior suite for only 70k points. I paid $301 for those 70k points (versus the cash rate for the room was over 600 Euros per night)! It was an incredible value for the points.

We arrived Venice early in the morning and our room wasn’t ready until 11 AM so we walked around the area (I never stayed on Campo San Giacomo da l’Orio part of Venice) and had lunch at the restaurant near the hotel. After lunch, we went back to the hotel and our room was ready. The junior suite was large but the space wasn’t utilized efficiently; the closet was too big. After we settled down, we walked out toward San Marco’s square – it was a good 25-minute walk. On the way, we spotted the first couple that was dressed up in these beautiful matching purple Venetian gowns. We walked up to them and asked nicely if we could have a photo with them, and they were glad to do so. We were super excited!

The vibrant colors and incredible details of the gowns, masks, and headpieces were absolutely breathtaking. Those photos were taken by our cell phones, I didn’t bring my DSLR camera on this business trip ๐Ÿ™

We continued our walk and spotted another matching couple, we couldn’t be more excited to wait for our turn and asked for a photo!

We made our way to San Marco Square and it was filled with tourists as well as people dressed in beautiful costumes and masks. It wasn’t as crowded as we had thought. We were like paparazzi, chasing down the best costumes and masks to photograph ๐Ÿ˜€

The gold and black combo matched nicely.

I love the lace mask and Saint Mark’s Basilica as the backdrop.

This couple was preparing for the ball ๐Ÿ˜€

I love the color combinations of the feathers in her mask!

The bright red really stand out.

This person has a disco ball as the prop and his/her masks complement that.

This was the largest mask that we came across!

Blue and white were one of my favorite combinations of colors (reminded me of Greece) and you couldn’t beat the gondolas and San Giorgio Maggiore as the backdrop!

His position down to the pier was a perfect frame for photos!

We spotted three people wearing sparkling golden gowns walking down toward the square and everyone was chasing them for photos! I wonder how heavy their costumes and masks were! However, they were the unfriendliest group we encountered, they barely stopped for photos and used their scepter to make way.

Woah this has to be the widest dress, it was like a table sweeping down the road!

Another two people at the gondola pier:

Dark blue and black matching gowns:

It was incredible to see those awesome costumes, each one was unique! Then, we saw people dressed as knights gathered next to the gondola station, something was going to happen! It turned out to be the Festa Delle Marie (a re-enactment of a traditional Venetian beauty contest where 12 beautiful women were dressed in the finest Venetian clothes and presented to the Doge). I was taking a video of the parade so didn’t get any photos except this one of the knights.

Note that there was limited information on the program schedule, only the main events were published on websites but not the time so we had no idea when to wait. It was a lot of people at the center stage so we didn’t stay to watch the pageant, instead, we continued to walk around to find beautiful costumes ๐Ÿ˜€

This guy certainly know how to pose and pick the best spot!

This group of people was ready for their ball! There were balls on various dates and the dress code was Venetian costumes; the cost of the ball ticket is around 500 Euros and costume rental starts at 200 Euros, very expensive but sure to be a unique experience of a lifetime!

The white and blue couple again and this time, I asked for a photo; they were super friendly holding my hands ๐Ÿ˜€

We had so much fun spending hours scouting the square for the best costumes and masks to photograph and have a photo with them as possible. Every single costume was unique and in perfectly matching colors. The details and handcrafts put into making those costumes were a creation of a masterpiece. I was so lucky to be part of this unforgettable festival!

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