Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival

pictures, history and costumes 

The Carnival in Venice is one of of the most beautiful carnivals not only in Italy, but in the whole world.

I have been to Venice during the Carnival more than once and I have a few pictures and information about it that I would like to share with you.

You can see the whole program at the official website,  

costumes at carnival in venice

The fame of the carnival comes mainly from the beautiful masks and costumes that wander around the calli and campi during this time of the year. 

We usually link masks and costumes to carnival (and Halloween), a time of parties and change, we dress up to be somebody else for a few hours.  But in Venice it hasn’t always been this way… 

History of Carnival in Venice

history of carnival in venice

Carnival has very old origins, it probably derives from the Saturnali in Ancient Rome, a time at the end of the month of December when civil rules were temporarly suspended.

It was time of banquets and subversion of the social order: for a few days slaves were free and a princeps was elected and dressed with a mask and bright colors.

A few centuries later, when Venice was administered by the Serenissima Republic, wearing masks and costumes was popular and an ordinary affair.

history of venetian masks
venice carnival
history of carnival in venice
At the time masks were used to hide one’s identity during illegal meetings or activities.  For instance, the mask was used to go to casino or brothels.  Hidden under the tabarro (a mantel) were often carried arms. 
history of venetian carnival

For this reason in 1269 the use of masks and costumes was legally forbidden, allowed only during Carnival.

Bauta (the cocked hat with a mask that was open at the bottom and permitted to eat and talk) and tabarro could be worn at official parties and on national holidays.

In the meantime the Carnival (that lasted from Christmas to Mardi Gras) and Venetian masks became more and more important, and in 1436 was established the statute of mascherari, the artisans that create the masks.

Carnival continued to be a time of transgression, where you could do anything, with the anonymity given by the mask.


Venice Carnival
In 1776 married women were forced to wear bauta and tabarro to go to the theatre.
Venice carnival

In 1700, when Carnival was at its highest, new costumes became popular, those coming from the Commedia dell’arte theatre pieces, and they continue to be among the most popular: Pulcinella, Colombina, Arlecchino, Pantalone. 

history of venice carnival

From 1797, with the end of the Republic of Venice and the invasion of Napoleon first and the Austrian Empire later, the Carnival was suspended and prohibited. Masks could only be worn at private parties.

Carnival was organised again only recently, in 1979.

venice carnival mask

The carnival today

Nowadays curious and enthusiastic from all over the world come to Venice not only to see the beautiful costumes, but also to wear them.

It is possible to buy or rent a costume in the few ateliers that can still be found in Venice.

Around town you can see many stalls selling cheap masks, but true Venetian masks are made in papier-maché, not plastic, and cost from 30 euro up (they are artisanal works).

venetian masks
maschera veneziana
Some of the costumes you can see in Venice during the Carnival are traditional, with the white mask and the rich headgear.  Others are inspired by movie characters or exotic cultures. 
venetian mask
carnival in venice

Carnival is one of my favorite times to visit Venice; during about two weeks you can see costumes on gondolas, prizes are given to the best masks and all type of events are organized.

venice carnival photographer
And don’t forget the frittella, an equally important protagonist of the Carnival in Venice. 
venetian frittella
venetian costumes
venice carnival
venetian mask
masks in venice

Venice during the Carnival is particularly busy and sometimes it’s difficult to move around, but I think it deserves a visit at least once in a lifetime. 

venice carnival
It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!

A walk on the Hills of Arzignano

A walk on the Hills of Arzignano

A spring Walk in Arzignano

The Camminata per la Vita (Walk for life) in Restena, Arzignano, is?one of those walks that are organized around Italy all year round, but mainly in Spring, when it is not too cold nor too hot, and nature is blooming, the perfect conditions for this type of activities.

camminata per la vita restena
camminata per la vita restena

In 2020 and 2021 the walk was suspended due to CoronaVirus. In 2022 it’s finally back. It’s a walk among cherry blossoms, old unbalanced houses, amazing wild flowers and ancient villas up for sale.

camminata per la vita restena

Usually at these walks there are paths of different lengths; here in Restena you can choose to walk 4, 6, 12 or 17 kilometers. Along the way there are some “ristori“, refreshment areas, where you can eat and drink something.

camminata per la vita
un ristoro

I really enjoy these walks because they take you to discover your own region; for example, I had never been before on these hills at just 10 km from home. And the view from there was breathtaking. Plus, you get to walk with dogs that are so happy that they run like crazy and children that proudly walk their first 6 km on a row. The event was a true mood-enhancing. At the end of the 18 km I could actually barely walk, but I was very happy.

This event is particularly important because it is also organized to raise funds for the research on Cystic Fibrosis or Rare Illnesses (depending on the year, it changes).

camminata per la vita arzignano
At the end of the day this dog must have run 4 times the distance

These walks are a mix of nature, food and socializing; they are a great way to meet new and old friends, spend some time in the nature and discover the territory.

camminata per la vita
Landscape and a farmer working: there’s no Sundays for them.

One of the next walks of this type in the same area is in San Zeno.

Verona, the City of Love

Verona, the City of Love

Verona in Love

Verona is one of the most romantic cities in Italy.

It all started with William Shakespeare, that decided to set his famous Tragedy Romeo and Juliet in Verona.

Juliet’s balcony is one of the most visited sites in Verona, and you can also visit Juliet’s tomb and Romeo’s house.

That is why on days around Valentine’s Day the city organizes a mini festival with various events.

love market in verona

This year, 2022, the festival takes place from the 11th to the 14th of February.

The town is all dressed up with love decorations, the most interesting probably being the big heart in Piazza dei Signori (also known as Piazza Dante), that can best be seen from the Lamberti Tower.

verona in love

During the festival there are live talks about love, restaurants offer a dish with the love theme, there’s a Half Marathon, there are events at bookshops, there’s a street market, all in love theme of course.

A new entry for the year 2022 is a National Competition for the best love song by young song-writers.

ponte pietra in verona

Verona is a beautiful town all year round, but these days it gets even more romantic and loved.

A walk on the hills of San Zeno

A walk on the hills of San Zeno

Every year the community of San Zeno in Arzignano, where I live, organizes a walk on the hills around the town, on Liberation Day, April 25th.

On the hills of San Zeno
On the hills of San Zeno

The walk is part of a “sagra”, a music and food festival that takes place every year at the end of April; the sagra is spread in two weekends and it’s very well organized, considering San Zeno is a very small village. Every day there’s something different in the menu: porchetta (roasted pork), risotto, paella, fried fish, etc. There’s a photography exhibition and contest (in 2018 I won the third prize 🙂 ), a vintage motorbikes show, a music festival for teenagers (I get emotional at hearing these youngster singing with so much passion and talent).

The walk takes place on April 25 (in 2020 it has been postponed due to CoronaVirus). I love walking in the nature and seeing the old houses in the countryside. Plus, it’s an occasion to meet new and old friends, your neighbors that you don’t have the chance to meet often. And there’s always some food. At half walk we could eat loads of “panini” with home-made salami, cheese and peppers. A pleasure for the palate and the soul.

The first part of the walk is a bit hard, because you have to hike up the hill, then it’s a bit of walking at the same level, to Contr? Moschini, and then down to San Zeno.?

Below is a short video I made of the walk in San Zeno, hope you’ll enjoy it.

Fimon Lake

Fimon Lake

Photography walk at the lake of the Colli Berici

I don’t know if Fimon Lake was always this pretty, but in the last couple of years I’ve found it really charming.

It’s one of the few lakes of Vicenza, of glacier origins, surrounded by hills on three sides, beautiful in Summer as in Winter (and what about the Autumn colors?). It has a long history, dating back to the Neolitic, and nearby have been discovered some interesting archaeological finds.

It’s rich in fauna and flora, I personally love the rushes by the water, the water lilies, the mallards and swans that get closer in the hope of getting some bread (even though this habit they have is not really healthy, I suppose).

The parking area, where the road arrives, is East and South of the lake. The parking at the end of the road is often full, but there’s another parking in the south, at the beginning of the lake, that seems quite big and not that busy.

The walk

There’s a nice walk that you can take around the lake, a dirt road of about 5 kilometers (3 miles), all flat, easy to walk or to ride on a bike. We did it in little more than one hour, but you should take it more slowly and enjoy its peace and tranquility. It’s mostly in the shade, so it’s ok to walk there even in the hottest days (but I chose to go just before sunset to take advantage of the better light).

The side opposite the parking areas is less charming than the East side, I think, because you can’t really see the lake, the road is separated from the water by a thick vegetation. But there are some nice areas with benches where you can enjoy a picnic with your friends or read a book, also because less people walk down there. The sides at East and South are lovely and they offer very picturesque views.

On all sides you can often meet fishermen with their small boats, great photography subjects, and nice to see for everyone. Fishing is permitted, and you can also camp there for a maximum of two nights (only if fishing though).

Fimon is great for a bike ride around the lake; and it’s well connect through a cycling path and quiet roads to the Riviera Berica and Vicenza. I’m going to take my bike there one day.

Dining and drinking at Fimon Lake

There are some cafes and restaurants near the lake, in the area where the parkings are, and one café is right by the water; clearly on Summer Sundays they are busy.

We had an aperitiv by the lake but went for dinner at Pierina’s, an agrioturism at about two kilometers from the lake. It’s a lovely place, with tables under a portico and vine trees, with chickens and other animals running freely in the courtyard.

I recommend you book in advance, their spit roast is quite famous (and really good); it’s open Friday to Sunday, April to October or November, I can’t remember.

I would say that Fimon Lake is the perfect place for a Sunday stroll in the nature, or ride, or for simply relaxing.

Cycling the Water Ring in Padua

Cycling the Water Ring in Padua

On a bike along the Outer River Circuit of Padova

On a hot summer Sunday we decided to go cycling along the Anello Fluviale di Padova, the Water Ring in Padua.

In the past water was very important for Padua, it was used to transport goods, inside the city and in the trade with others, and to irrigate the fields. Today the transportation system is different, but some of the canals are still there, and have become a great spot for relaxation.

The Anello Fluviale di Padova follows canals and rivers around the town centre of Padua. It’s a ring itinerary of 47 kilometers (29 miles), almost completely reserved to bikes and pedestrians, only a few kilometers are on roads shared with cars, but traffic there is very light.

Here is the itinerary on Strava:

We started our ride from ponte del Bassanello, as suggested by a guidebook by the Touring Club Italiano; we found a free parking nearby (it’s not difficult as it’s outside the centre of the town) and we started riding. The path is well marked everywhere, you don’t really need a guidebook.

The ride is basically flat, the height difference is of 58 meters up and down (about 63 yards), not difficult at all, just a bit long, if you are not used to cycling for long distances. The first part towards West along the Bacchiglione and North along the Brentella Canal till Limena was very pleasant, I liked the landscape, with farms and nice houses, and it was mostly in the shade. I would have liked to stop more often to take pictures but we were riding fast and eager to go, at the beginning.

The Itinerary of the Water Ring in Padua

From Limena to Stra the path follows the Brenta River and then again two canals, the Piovego and San Gregorio, to the Bassanello Bridge, a section that is mostly in the sun, so it’s better to avoid it in the hottest days (unlike we did).

The guidebook suggests a few places to visit along the ride, like the Certosa in Vigodarzere and Villa Giovannelli in Noventa Padovana, but we are not strong riders and it was satisfying enough for us to get to the end. But in Stra I took a short detour to give a look to Villa Pisani. I’ll have to go back and do part of te path to Vigodarzere and maybe cycle a bit in the town centre of Padova.

Villa Pisani a Stra
Villa Pisani in Stra

There are some drinking fountains along the road and you often cycle near towns with cafes and restaurants, but you still should have your water bottle with you. We stopped in Limena, Stra and a cute little café along the Canale San Gregorio where there’s a tiny beach where you can swim and sunbath. I would have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon, to rehydrate with beer and lemonade, but if we relaxed too much I wouldn’t have been able to cycle the last few kilometers.

I have always used the bike to move in the cities where I lived, and I also like to visit a new place by bike, even though it’s not the best if you want to take pictures, in particular if you are traveling with others or have to ride for many kilometers. But I hope to cycle more and more often, maybe doing an eco-friendly holiday with a bike and bags in the back. I’ll let you know if I’ll ever do it.