One thing striking about Venice during the Carnevale (Carnival of Venice) was the sales of ornate Venetian masks in most shops and carts.
It’s been said that Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy and they are typically worn extensively during the Carnevale. In the past, it’s use was probably used as a device for concealing the wearer’s identity and social status.
Venetian masks are characterised by their ornate design, featuring bright colours such as gold or silver and the use of complex decorations in the baroque style. Many designs of Venetian masks stem from Commedia dell’arte. They can be full-face masks (e.g. the bauta) or eye masks (e.g. the Columbina).
Be warned, if you intend to get the full-face mask (the buata), eating and drinking will prove to be rather challenging as you may find yourself tilting the mask ever-so-slightly for the duration of your meal trying to steal a sip from your drink or bite of food from the plate.
We delved straight into shopping of our masks for the Cavalchina Grand Ball upon our arrival. Having to make a decision as to which mask to get was simply too difficult because they were all so pretty. The next day, I spied even lovelier and ornate masks decorated with lace and Swarovski crystals that I wished I had gotten. These ornate masks cost a little more than usual because they are unique creations from specialised Mask Ateliers. A lady’s Columbina made of paper mache and decorated with lace plus crystals could start from about EUR 4o and the price goes up for a more elaborate design.
The masks comes in all different shapes and sizes. If you do not fancy putting them on, you could always get one to place it on your wall as a piece of decor at home.
And if creativity is one of your talents, then I’d say get a plain mask and try your hand at designing your very own and original Venetian mask. Plain white masks are a lot more affordable and the cheapest I’ve seen so far is EUR 1.99.
And it’s not all that boring for there are plenty of styles you could choose from, all you need to do is to add some colour to the plain white mask and viola! You can be assured that no one at the Carnevale would be wearing the same mask as you.
And, just what we will be doing with the masks that we got for the ball? Guess we’ll be displaying this in our glass cabinet when we return back to Singapore. Makes for a great conversation starter should you come visit our home.
Lastly, if you’re ever making your way to Venice to attend the Carnevale de Venezia in future, here are 2 Costume and Masks Ateliers that are worth checking out:Ca’ del Sol Address: Castello, 4964, 30122 Venezia, Italy http://www.cadelsolmaschere.com Viva Address: San Marco 267, 30124 Venezia, Italy http://www.vivavenice.com