VENICE- Carnival, old festivals

VENICE-  Carnival, old festivals


regata dele cariole

The royal race “Regatta” of wheelbarrows

The first race with wheelbarrows,at the Venetian festivals, starts in 1751, when two scavengers (Cosimo and Gasparo) were swayed to compete in speed with their wheelbarrows for the winding and busy streets of Venezia.That liked so much to the people that it became a “race” with many competitors, between the rows of crowd. The awards which initially consisted of perhaps a jug of wine became more conspicuous and were also awarded the top finishers with typical colorful flags (coveted trophy of the true racing).

Without masks, simple clothes, hat like servants. The “regatta” with wheelbarrows was probably an ironic playful competition,for the lower classes, just for fun, and to attract the attention of the public.

Puppet showsburatini
Puppet shows and storytelling have always been very popular all over Italy, especially in Venice , during the Carnival. You could admire the traditional Italian puppets ( burattini ) used in theater to represent humans, animals or mythological characters that were the hallmark of the Commedia dell’Arte also supported by Carlo Goldoni .

But this singular spectacle was also done to attract the crowds, to put them together , and to propose a ” special balm ” or ” elixir of life ” ,to the people who believe in these things. These are the ancestors of modern-day advertising .

Charlatans and mountebanks in St. Mark’s Square ,

saltimbachiAt the puppet theater can be inserted into the broader landscape of street the entertainments like : jugglers , storytellers, acrobats, mimes, acrobats and animal trainers who always been the heart of the Carnival of Venezia .On San Marco square, all kinds of shows, magic tricks , music, blossomed during the Carnival period .There were many people who believed the impostors, who were able to pass as curators of the diseases, predict the future and to help the poors … but there was also the clown (which has its roots in the  Commedia dell ‘Arte, in the late eighteenth century), an “ROMPIBALLE ” , a true professional of the guffaw, the farce, mockery, one who has the courage to use the’ only weapon at his disposal: the freedom.

People from all over the world, willingly participated at these the celebrations.

Eggs scented

Carnival has always been a way of flirting , getting together with a person from the other carnivalsex .It become a trend at that time , to woo women , through an strange game “the throwing eggs” filled with rose water .The merchants were selling different kinds of scented eggs , and the young masked men willing to show their appreciation for the ladies that they liked most, throwed these scented eggs in front of their homes. Of course,the joke could go wrong , so the eggs could be launched to the people, to the husbands of the ladies , or, to the ladies themselves. The “masks” of the lancers were also known as Mattaccino or Frombolatore  ( matina= morning and frombola = fionda =  the sling ) .

Card Games

SAM_0402The Venetians are well known for their love of the gambling . In a carnival scene (taken from  ” Jealous Women” a comedy by Carlo Goldoni) . You can see a typical representation of the XVIII century at this kind of meeting , all the persons wearing a mask, most of them the typical “bauta” ,most of them engaged in a conversation ,playing cards , and continuing the eternal game of seduction .

Unfortunately most of these festivals have been lost because of the laws that changed Italy, due to the Napoleonic invasions at the end of 1700, laws who suspended the carnival itself in 1797.



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