Venice: A place for masquerade

February is one of the milestones in Venice. The city is famous for its canals. But, of course, there is also the Carnival time: colourful, fun, but it attracts crowds and raises the prices for accommodations as tourists arrive to enjoy the spectacle. On the weekdays St. Mark’s area is fun and still manageable, on weekends the trains flood Venice with even more people. Away from the masks and costumes though, the local areas of Venice are still quiet and peaceful. And outside Carnival fortnight, you can expect a more typical Venetian winter.

Visiting Venice in the winter lets you visite the city without the crowds. You may even catch St Mark’s Square when it’s near empty, and it’s a completely different experience from the summer months. Early evening is the best time for photographs, when the light hasn’t completely faded and the torches are just beginning to be lit. Be careful, because the sun sets quite early.

Fog is usually quite heavy and you can see anothe Venice, completely different: spectral, silent, mysterious. Explore at will, be careful because getting lost will be even easier!

Escape the cold visiting a museum. For example the Peggy Guggenheim Museum (Palazzo Venier dei Leoni) houses a personal collection of modern art collected by the wife of Max Ernst. Great works include Picasso, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Pollock, Dali and Mondrian, and the temporary exhibitions. from there you have a different view of the Grand Canal and San Marco Square, well worth the visit.

Even in february, you can’t visit Venice and not explore the Mercato del Rialto, the famous fresh food market. Pick up vegetables, bread, fruit, and local seafood like squid and swordfish. Don’t touch anything! You can point to what you want, and the vendor will prepare it for you.

Riding a Gondola is expensive, and can be miserable in the cold, but you can visit a gondola artisan’s workshop to understand how they are made: it’s not as straightforward as you may think. You can book a private tour of a boatyard to learn about the craft, the history of the art, and the secret techniques. Head down to Squero di San Trovaso, a boatyard that first opened in the 17th century near the Giudecca Canal.

The traditional ’mascareri’ or mask-makers offer 2-4 hour workshops: learn about the art of the mask-making, mask history and decorate your own mask. It will be quite the unique experience.

Of course, the most famous tradition in Venice: the Carnevale, the world’s largest masked ball that dates back to the Middle Ages. Visitors flock to Piazza San Marco, where you will find thousands of masks and costumes, often very beautiful and funny. Many places and squares hosts costumed celebrations.

Venice celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14: museums are known to offer two for one admissions on this day. You can ride a gondola for a special kiss under the Bridge of Sighs, followed by a romantic, candlelit dinner.

Masks, costumes, love, gondolas… enjoy the charm and mistery of a momento which will take you back to the baroque 17th century. And do it hand in hand with the guides of in the luxurious and comfortable vehicles the company has at your disposal.

Posted in Venice.