In contrast to the previous carnival mask, this one is much grander.
Apparently the mask making industry in Venice was so important, it had its own guild. The status of the mask makers was so great that they apparently had their own laws.
When Venice was handed over to Austria by Napoleon in 1797, the carnivals were banned and the tradition ended for 200 years, only resuming in the 1980’s when a mask shop opened in the city.
The tourist traps all around Venice are littered with little shops selling carnival masks.
Apparently the tradition of holding carnivals in Venice dates back to 1268, and masks were an integral part of the celebrations. The carnivals would last so long that it was possible to spend a fair amount of the year in disguise, which would have been useful for the criminal element I’m sure…
This brilliant golden mask was in the window of one such shop and has three faces blended into one. Apparently there are two methods of making masks – one with leather and the other with papier-mâché.
Just off St Mark’s Square in Venice, there’s a little ‘square’ where the Gondoliers await tourists to take on trips around the city. This Gondolier was just pulling in when we came across the area.