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Venice Carnival History

Venice Carnival History

In Venice in 1094 Doge Vitale Falier was in power. In this period the first edition of the Carnival of Venice began unconsciously, as a public celebration to honor the days preceding Lent. Everything is reported in an official document so that the tradition could be followed. But it took long time before the Venice Carnival became a proper festival, ending the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

Once the Carnival began the first Sunday of October, grew with Epiphany and ended with a grand celebration in the day preceding Lent (Shrove Tuesday); its atmosphere was different as the festival was much longer and more intense.

Nowadays the Carnival lasts about ten days, still in the pre-Easter period but the expectation and excitement for Carnival is always present throughout the year.

Carnival at that time was an opportunity to break down all social differences and get everyone on the same level, it was the time to forget life problems and frustrations enjoying this popular festival all together.

The mask was a symbol of the game but also of equality: as people could hide behind it all their shame. Wearing masks and costumes people could completely hide their identity therefore eliminating all forms of personnel belonging to social class, gender, religion. Anyone could become what he wanted, he could have attitudes and behaviors according to his custom and to his changed appearance. For this reason, it was customary to greet the masks with a “Hello madame mask”!

The joyful participation in disguise was and still is, the Carnival essence. A period of light-heartedness and freedom from the daily routine and from the prejudices and slanders. It was all part of a masked big stage, where actors and spectators were merged into a unique and immense procession of figures and colors.
The custom of dressing up was becoming more and more popular in Venice, so a real trade in masks and costumes grew from nothing to a profitable business..

There were many parties with tumblers, jugglers and acrobats. The tributes to the protagonists of Venetian history were great, especially to Marco Polo, the Carnival took every opportunity to remind his journeys.

The Carnival in Venice has accompanied every moment of history: in the nineteenth century Venice and its Carnival become a destination for artists and celebrities from around the world. After the fall of the Venice Republic Carnival underwent a sharp break due to the French and Austrian domination. In this sad period the Carnival continued only in the island of Burano and Murano, home to Venetian artists.

Carnival resurrected in 1979 when a group of citizens from civic associations helped to create the new edition of the Venice Carnival, a festival lasting eleven days, full of joy and happiness to celebrate this anniversary, so dear to the Venetian people.

During Carnival, the innate nature of the Venetian merchants is overshadowed, fun, jokes, masks and party atmosphere of lightheartedness and invades the city in a festive general atmosphere that you can feel, see and touch throughout the city.


Carnival Minuetto 2019 – Ball in Palazzo Dandolo




Enjoy a spectacular Carnival dinner and dance in the historic and majestic hall of the Ridotto, located in the hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, a few steps from St Mark’s Square. During the past centuries, Venetian aristocrats and merchants from all over the world celebrated the Carnival dancing and eating in the wonderful city of Venice. They used to be masked in order to hide their identities and feel free. You will try the same authentic experience!

The event starts at 8.00 pm with a aperitif and will be followed by a rich dinner with 4 courses and locals wines (included). A delicious dessert will be composed by typical Venetian cookies: “Galani” and  Carnival sweet pancakes. Moreover, a Dance Master with his partner will lead the group dances throughout the evening and an Opera Singer will delight the guests between the different dances accompanied by live music with a baroque ensemble. 

Short historical excursus on the location you will spend a magical evening  

Carnival Minuet Ball at Ridotto

Carnival Minuet Ball at Ridotto

The hall of the Ridotto has an extraordinary rich history. It was the first place in Venice and in the world to accomodate  gambling rooms openly. The young Casanova danced here and used this breath-taking place as a set for his conquests. After the second world war this space becomes the first dancing hall in Venice and after that an important theater.  Nowadays, the Ridotto Hall where the Carnival Ball will take place belongs to the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel and gives you a stunning view on the Grand Canal.

What do you have to expect from the soiree 

Immagine yourself in an ancient and noble Venetian scenario wearing original period costumes, enjoying a tasteful dinner and socializing with other nobles, dancing a splendid period dances involved by a professional Minuet Master and why not.. making conquests the way it would be done by Casanova.

Carnival Period Costume

The Carnival Period Costume is Compulsory to attend the ball. Have a look on the professional Venetian Atelier Proposals. Respect the Dress Code and find your perfect outfit for the special occasion!


  • Dates: Saturdays February 16th ad 23th , Sunday March 3rd,  2019
  • Time: 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Price: February 16th € 280, per person
  • Price: February 23 and March 3rd € 320, per person

Additional information

Dress Code

Compulsory Period Costume

Meeting point

Hotel Monaco &  Grand Canal – San Marco 1332, Calle Vallaresso


– Welcoming Cocktail
– Placé Dinner
– Professional Minuet Dance Masters
– Baroque Ensemble Music


– Period Costume Rental




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