Venice CarnivalThe history of the carnival dates back to the 15th century (some argue from further back than that) from where on it continued in various forms until Mussolini banned the wearing of the famous carnival masks. In 1979 the carnival's traditions were revived and the event has once again become the highlight of Venice's social calendar! It was traditionally a time when people could savor the pleasures of life before the onset of Lent.
Beginning two Fridays before Ash Wednesday, the carnival is centred around traditional processions, although alongside this there are now many street performances, mock military duels and tournaments. There is a masked costume contest with an award ceremony, but the highlight remains the Grand Masked Ball (Gran Ballo delle Maschere) which takes place in different locations each year, but is always on a suitably noble scale!