It is said that the Carnival of Venice started from a victory of the “SerenissimaRepubblica” against the Doge Vitale Falier in the year 1094.
An historian argues that covering the face in public was a uniquely Venetian response to one of the most rigid class hierarchies in European history.
The establishment of the Carnival is generally attributed to the need of the Serenissima to grant to the people, and especially to the humblest folks of community, a period entirely dedicated to the fun and festivities. Through the anonymity guaranteed by masks and costumes, they obtained a sort of equalisation of all social divisions, and even the public mockery of authority and aristocracy was authorized.
One of the most common costumes in the ancient carnival, cutting-edge in the modern Carnival is certainly the Bauta. The Bauta (sometimes referred as baùtta) is a mask, today often heavily gilded though originally simple stark white, which is designed to comfortably cover the entire face. The bauta was often accompanied by a red or black cape and a tricorn.In 18th century, together with a black cape called a “tabarro”, the bauta had become a standardized society mask and disguise regulated by the Venetian government. The moretta (meaning dark one lady) or servettamuta (meaning mute servant woman) was a small strapless black velvet oval mask with wide eyeholes and no lips or mouth worn by patrician women. The mask was only just large enough to conceal a woman’s identity and was held in place by the wearer biting on a button or bit (the women wearing this mask were unable to speak, hence muta) and was sometimes finished off with a veil.
“During the Carnival, a huge fantasy dictionary will be represented in Venice: each mask will become a symbolic material trace of an alluring meeting of space and time, where in some place of our history one or more human beings have conceived a myth and turned it into image and narration. A timeless fantasy dictionary, a huge morphologic map of unbound human creativity, pleased to explore nature and its mysteries, to represent it with shapes, sounds and attitudes. (…) This year’s Carnival is globalised because, from its origins, each culture has drawn from its heritage of fantasy and fairy tales as a narrative metaphor of life.”
For more detailed infos about the events held during the carnival,
visit the website: