The Venice Carnival 2014 experience

The Carnevale di Venezia or Venice Carnival in Italy is the best-known baroque fancy-dress party in the world. It may not be as famous as the Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil, but it is rapidly elevating in its latest incarnation as the world's most elegant Carnival.

If you have never experienced the Venice Carnival, it's hard to explain the grandeur, the energy and the sheer excitement of the carnival. Here’s what you should know about the Venice Italy carnival 2014.

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Venice Carnival history

The original Carnival was first held in 1162 in celebration of one of Venice’s victories in battle. Although the celebration was held regularly after 1162, it took more than a hundred years for the leaders of the city to proclaim it an official carnival celebration. Once it was officially a Carnival event, Venice’s Carnevale grew steadily until its peak in the18th century, when Venice was recognised as Europe’s pleasure capital.

The glory days of the Carnevale di Venezia were, however, short lived. Napoleon invaded Venice in 1797 and killed the Carnival for almost 200 years. The Carnival was, nevertheless, revived in 1979 as a ploy by the then leaders of the city to boost tourism. It is this historic spin that distinguishes the Venice Carnival from other famous Carnivals like the New Orleans and Rio Carnivals.

PHOTO GALLERY Venetian Carnival costumes: best masks and outfits

Venice Carnival 2014

The high point of the Carnevale di Venezia is the costumes extravaganza that is as extravagant as Rio’s Carnival is riotous. The Venice Carnival in Italy comes complete with the same inherent nuttiness as Rio’s Carnival. Venice Carnival costumes feature ornate gowns, flowing cloaks and pompous maschera or masks that allow people from all walks of life to party together under the veil of anonymity without fear of social consequence.

Brace yourself for 12 solid days of costumed gusto in this year’s Venice Italy carnival 2014. You will have the pleasure of wandering the labyrinthine island city of historic alleyways and canals dressed like the Phantom of the Opera. Enjoy the buzz of other costumed revelers all dressed up in proper 18th-century traditions of baroque clothing for an unforgettable experience.

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Venice carnival 2014 dates

The Venice Italy carnival 2014 starts two Fridays before Ash Wednesday just before the fast of Lent (as do most Carnivals in Catholic countries) from February 22 to March 4, 2014. Different from the Rio de Janeiro Carnival or New the Orleans' Mardi Gras Carnival, the Venice Carnival is a distinctly formal affair.

Venice is unapologetically upscale and thrives on it. Carnival gala dinners and balls are some of the most extravagant and elite parties in the world. A single ball can be priced up to 2000 Euros. If you can afford it, though, one Carnival balls is enough to take you on an unforgettable trip back in time worth every single dime.

For more information on the Carnival in Venice, visit the official website at www.carnevale.venezia.it/?slang=en

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