Venice Carnival Brings Out the Masks, Regattas and Revelry

On Saturday, the Festa delle Maria, or parade of the Marias, unfolded. Traditionally, 12 young women were chosen to represent the city, commemorating the rescue of Venetian brides-to-be from pirates centuries ago.

Next Sunday, a masked eagle will descend from St Mark’s bell tower. The weekly descents are among the carnival’s most popular attractions, but for security reasons, participants in the square this year have been capped at 20,000.

Every day, there will be a competition for the most beautiful mask. The tradition of the mask started in the 13th century, when Venetians held parties before the start of Lent and wore elaborate masks to conceal their identity.

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