The much-awaited Carnevale di Venezia kicks off Saturday, February 15. This year’s theme is “La natura fantastica,” in celebration of a fairy-like carnival, of the wondrous, the dreamy and the fantastic.
The carnival's centuries-old tradition is taking global inspiration this year by the masks of the European tradition, by Arab and Middle Eastern tales, by symbols of African and Mesoamerican cultures, by Indian, Mongolian and Chinese allegories.
Every year the Venice Carnival attracts thousands of people. The city’s streets and squares will be alive with festivals and events of all kinds until March 4: from concerts in Piazza San Marco to historical dances and performances, to musical happy hours and children’s events.
On February 23, in St. Mark's Square, visitors can witness the traditional "Flight of the Angel," when a woman dressed in a Carnival costume descends from the bell tower of Saint Mark's Basilica to the center of the square attached to a wire - perhaps the most famous event of the Venice Carnival and surely one of the highlights.
Another great event to check is the "Svolo del Leon," scheduled on Fat Tuesday (Martedì Grasso) when, at midnight, the Vogata del Silenzio, a silent procession of gondolas, will go from the Rialto Bridge to the San Marco Basin marking the end of this year's edition.
Here are the main events of Venice Carnival 2014:
Feb. 15: Opening with show in Cannaregio
Feb. 16: Corteo acqueo - Canal Grande - Cannaregio
Feb. 22: Festa delle Marie
Feb. 23: Il Volo dell'Angelo (the Flight of the Angel)
Mar. 1: Sfilata dei Carri in Marghera
Mar. 2: Il Volo dell'Aquila and il Volo dell'Asino in Mestre
Mar. 4: Svolo del Leon, Award ceremony of "Maria vincitrice del Carnevale 2014"
Feb. 22 to Mar. 4: Contest Maschera più bella (the most beautiful mask)
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