Is Venice Mardi Gras kaput again?

Venice carnival on Sunday, February 23, 2010

Venice carnival on Sunday, February 23, 2010
Wearing protective masks and suits at the Venice carnival on Sunday. The final two days of the event have been cancelled because of coronavirus. Photo by Manuel Silvestri/Reuters

Photos courtesy of Carla Gambescia, author of La Dolce Vita University.

Venice, once an exotic East-meets-West Xanadu had by the turn of the 18th century long been a tourist honeypot with Europe’s best courtesans, elegant gambling salons and the extravagant festival of Carnevale.
Most famous of all revelers was Casanova whose infamous seductions were, indeed, an expression of Venetian decadence.
But then, abruptly, Carnevale was kaput. Napoleon, notorious killjoy that he was, decreed an end to all masquerade balls and public festivities when he took Venice as his own in 1797.
It was not until 1979 that the pipers piped and revelers once again reveled thanks to many young art students committed to reviving the craft of mask-making.

Read Carla Gambescia’s nostalgic article.

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