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Along with thousands of tourists, Venetians are celebrating Carnevale di Venezia from now until Tuesday in the city on the lagoon.

Carnival was first celebrated in Venice centuries ago, but for years and years it was a largely forgotten festival. It was only during the last two decades of the 20th century that it saw a revival.

While it is celebrated today at elegant costume balls, parades and theater on the city’s pedestrian streets and squares, Venice’s carnival is best known for its flamboyant costumes.

Masked creatures pose for tourists’ cameras in the Piazza San Marco, along the canals and as they glide by in the city’s famous gon- dolas.

Some of the costumes hark back to the theater of Venice’s Commedia dell’arte, but today there is no limit to the imagination of the participants in their mysterious, colorful and creative garb.

And who is hiding behind those masks? It might be a local, but it is just as likely to be a German, a Frenchman or — who knows? — perhaps your neighbor who has traveled to the city to join in the fun.

If you want to be a part of the masked revelry, a market on Campo St. Stefano near the Academia bridge sells costumes and whatever else you might need to celebrate Carnevale di Venezia.

Or you and your camera can just come for the view.


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