Are You 50+ and an Actor at Heart? Visit the Venetian Carnival!

The Venetian Carnival dress of Irina. Venice, Italy.

Irina’s Venetian Carnival dress. Venice, Italy.

A carnival and Venice. Two words—two miracles. While any carnival is a wonderful event, the city of Venice is a wonder on its own. Yes, this lady is demanding to your wallet. But you are 50+, you worked hard for most of your life, and your financial advisor will not commit suicide if you spend 3-4 thousand Euro to realize your lifelong dream: to play a role in a show where you are the director, costume designer, sponsor, and superstar. The venue of the show is Italy, the theater is Venice, the stage is the city streets.

You can buy your carnival costume at an online shop of medieval dress or right in Venice. On the eve of the carnival, it is also possible to rent it. Is it too expensive for you? No problem. Just buy a white wig of the 18th century and a traditional mask, and you are in the game. In our case (Venice Carnival 2017), we found a compromise. We bought a costume and a headdress of a Florentine merchant in an Italian online shop, but the dress of his “wife” was sewn by the mother of… well… his wife. Many thanks, dear mother-in-law. Add some accessories and “diamond jewelry” purchased in some shop of dancing accessories and you have the “rich clothes” of a medieval Florentine lady. Oh, yes, buy two traditional Venetian Carnival masks in a Chinese shop around the corner.

Drum roll. Your first entrance onto the stage. Your heart is beating like hell, legs are shivering and wobbling. Welcome, your majesty, Adrenaline. We are going down the staircase from our hotel room, and doing it slowly and proudly. Slowly, because my wife, Irina, is not accustomed to walking in long dresses, so we are afraid to step on the bottom of her dress and to get to the first floor much faster than we expect. People, climbing the staircase, freeze open-mouthed, then step aside to let us pass. Irina’s dress is too wide for two on the narrow staircase of this ancient Venetian house. Grazie mille.

Streets, squares, embankments, gondolas, caffès: everywhere you get more attention than you’ve probably ever had in your life. Tourists take your photo, some of them ask permission to take a picture with you and even to kiss your hand (not mine). You have dropped at least 30 years. You are young and romantic again. You are happy.

Gentlemen, as you know, if our lady is happy, we are twice as happy, so we get more for our money.

Venetian carnival masks. Venice, Italy.

“A Florentine merchant and his wife”

Venetian carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

Venetian carnival masks. Venice, Italy.

Traditional masks of the Venetian Carnival.

Venetian carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

Venetian Carnival masks. Venice, Italy.

A Venetian Carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

The first part of our day was devoted to the carnival, the second part—to Venice itself. This magical city is not young, and it understands the meaning of life, as you do, right? Therefore this city is for us, 50+, and it is beautiful. Walk around and enjoy the views. Take a gondola and enjoy the views. Tired? Enter any trattoria, and you will get beautiful pasta, beautiful seafood, beautiful wine, beautiful cappuccino, and beautiful sweets. No. Forget the last one. Sweets and an ice-cream are so yummy there that they will kill you much sooner than in any other part of the world.

You have been warned! Enjoy Venice and your finest hour.

Traditional masks of the Venetian Carnival.

Everywhere you get more attention than you’ve probably ever had in your life.

Venetian Carnival mask of a Florentine merchant.

A Venetian carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

A Venetian carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

Several useful tips

1. You should stay and walk just in the district of carnival events, around St Mark’s Square. Those citizens of Venice who don’t benefit from the carnival don’t like the participants of this carnival.

2. Ride on gondolas where you want and do it in carnival costumes. You will look natural and be shown in the best possible light.

3. Gentlemen, if your medieval carnival outfit has no pants (like mine), put on two pairs of warm black tights. It will be winter by the way.

4. A white wig is not just a carnival accessory. It is a warm cap covering your ears.

5. If your suitcase allows, take high rubber boots without zippers with you. During high tide, hotels give (and some shops sell) something like cellophane boots to their guests, but such footwear is very weak.

6. You should book a hotel half a year in advance, otherwise the price will be twice as high and choice be limited.

High water. St Mark's Square, Venice, Italy.

High water. St Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy.

Venetian Carnival masks. Venice, Italy.

A Venetian Carnival costume. Venice, Italy.

The Venetian Carnival mask of a Florentine merchant. Venice, Italy.

The Venetian Carnival mask of a Florentine merchant.

Venice mask shop.

A traditional mask of the Venetian Carnival.

A traditional mask of the Venetian Carnival.

A traditional mask of the Venetian Carnival.

More about Italy:

To Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy, accompanied by Orvieto Classico
Hadrian’s Villa, Villa d’Este, and Tivoli are Three Different Planets! The Last is the Worst!
What to See in Rome?! Are You Serious?

29 Responses to “Are You 50+ and an Actor at Heart? Visit the Venetian Carnival!”

  1. Giovannoni Claudine Says:

    This carnival is on my wishlist! Unfortunately it has been since decades I wanted to go to Venice in February… I was there already couple times but never made it. It is fantastic to do it with few friends, better if these are resident of Venice 🙂 Claudine

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Andrew Petcher Says:

    Looks Fabulous Victor, you make me envious of course!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Victor Tribunsky Says:

      Thank you, Andrew.
      Don’t you dare show this post to Kim, otherwise you will find yourselves in Venice in costumes of times of Queen Victoria during the next carnival.
      In fact, I think you both would look fabulous.

      Like

  3. wordsfromanneli Says:

    The costumes are fantastic, Victor. You and Irina sure got right into the spirit of the festival. For us, seeing this kind of thing (through your blog post) is amazing. Then after the costumes and the festival report, we are brought right back to the reality of the city slowly sinking with every high tide. That is such a sad thing, and yet a wonder that the city still hangs on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Terry Says:

    Wonderful, lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Penne Cole Says:

    How cool! What a wonderful festival to take part in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Susan Marie Molloy Says:

    This is stunning! Thanks for sharing 😀

    Like

  7. Diane Henders Says:

    What wonderful photographs, and your costumes were fabulous! I was surprised by the high water in the square – I’ve never been to Venice and I knew it was slowly sinking; but I didn’t realize the water was so high. I also read your post “Sinking Venice: At the Dying Beauty’s Bedside”, and I enjoyed your poetic tribute to the grand but declining lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Frank Says:

    Some beautiful customs Victor! Great photos, I can only imagine what Venice would have been like a few hundred years ago when these were the mode.
    Also looks like a great way to meet women.

    Like

  9. Agness of eTramping Says:

    I would love to visit the carnival in Venice one day and cross it off my bucket list, Victor. Your pictures and those costumes are so inspiring. How many days would be enough to stay in Venice for the carnival?

    Like

  10. Sue Slaght Says:

    Oh my goodness what an experience! Good for the two of you to partake even if there was a great deal of adrenaline involved. Fabulous photos and great tips for anyone wanting to attend the Venice Carnival.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Matea.In.Wonderland Says:

    Love it. We are coming this year again. 🙂 Can´t wait. Hope it´s not too cold.

    Like

  12. thebritishberliner Says:

    I love this post Victor!
    You and Irina both look great. I can’t imagine how you would be feeling being in Venice, and a part of Venetian history and culture. You must have felt so proud and excited. Imagine! Your photographs are now all over the world…. 😉

    I went to Bruges a few weeks ago, and they had a smaller version of the Venetian Carnival, which was very interesting, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to see the real thing, not to talk of dressing up.

    I’ve been to Italy many times, but I have never been to Venice! Can anyone join in, or do you have to apply to the organisers?

    Like

  13. strathdontours Says:

    What a brilliant way to experience Venice. Well done Victor and Irina (and Irina’s mother!)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jane Gealy Says:

    I used to run a social / adventure group which organised weekends to the Venice Carnival, but I never went. Your photos are making me think I really missed out on something!

    Liked by 1 person


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