Carnevale 2008

Story and photos by Monica Mendoza

***image9***Carnevale di Venezia − this is Fat Tuesday Venetian style, and you’ve never seen anything like it. Thousands of Venetians, in the most fabulous costumes, parade the streets of this ancient city, to richly celebrate their “farewell to meat” − or the 10 full days before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. This year, events take place Jan. 25 to Feb. 5.

This is the time, when if you are wearing a mask, you can be who you would like to be. Legend has it that this was the only time when the classes mixed, and they never felt bad about it.

In Venice, you can take refuge from the barbarians. After all, that is why this city on water was founded. You can dine on fine Italian cuisine and you can take in the sites of San Marco Square, where if you dare, hold some seed in your hand and get the pigeons flocking. Travel guru Rick Steves calls the square, “your private rendezvous with the Middle Ages,” in his Best of Europe book.

***image10***And, it wouldn’t be a visit to Venice without a grand canal cruise − it’s not just for the romantics.