|Italy Tour to Venice for Carnival|
Italy Tours from all over the world packed Venice this week for Carnival. Italian Tourism officials report Venice hotels hung out their no vacancy signs as thousands of costumed celebrants gathered in Venice for the finale of Italy's most famous carnival celebration Tuesday night.
Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival, which attracts Italy tours from all over the world. Traditionally Venetians and Italian Tourists alike wore them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. They have always been around Venice. As masks were also worn for the Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people Venetians and Italy travelers could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise
Venetian masks can be made in leather or with the original glass technique. The original masks were rather simple in design and decoration and often had a symbolic and practical function. Nowadays, most of them are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf and are all hand-painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate.
The mascherari, or mask-makers had their own statute dated 10 April 1436. They belonged to the fringe of painters and were helped in their task by sign-painters who drew faces onto plaster in a range of different shapes and paying extreme attention to detail.
Over 280,000 visitors arrived last weekend filling all available beds not only in Venice hotels but also on the Lido island facing it and the neighboring city of Mestre across the Venice Lagoon on the mainland.
"This is the highest occupancy we've ever seen in the three areas, a far cry from last year," said Vittorio Bonacini, head of the Venice Hoteliers Association.
Carnival traditionally concludes on Fat Tuesday at mid night, also known as Mardi Gras, with a procession of gondolas and other traditional boats along the Grand Canal, under the Rialto bridge to the dock at St Mark's Square, with all palaces and homes illuminated only by LED candles as thousands of balloons are released to usher in the beginning of Lent.
Because this year's Mardi Gras coincides with International Women's Day, the celebration has been dedicated to women.
Other famous Italian carnival celebrations in Italy include the one in Ivrea, near Turin, where the traditional 'battle of the oranges' left hundreds of 'victims' at the weekend, and one in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio where a traditional parade of allegorical floats takes center stage.
Italy tours to Venice, Florence and Rome are available with Italian Tourism, where you will find the best deals on Italy tours.