The Carnevale di Venezia is an annual festival, held in Venice, Northern Italy. It ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, 40 days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is famous for its elaborate masks and costumes. It is said that the Carnival started from a victory of the “Serenissima Repubblica” against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven, in 1162. In honor of this victory, people started dancing in San Marco Square. Apparently, the festival started at that time and became an official celebration in the Renaissance. In the 17th century, the baroque carnival was a way to save the prestigious image of Venice in the world. It was very famous during the 18th century. Under the rule of Austria, the festival was outlawed entirely in 1797 and the use of masks became strictly forbidden. It reappeared gradually in the 19th century, but only for short periods and above all for private feasts, where it became an occasion for artistic creations. After a long absence, Carnival returned in 1979. The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of its efforts. The redevelopment of the masks began as the pursuit of some Venetian college students for the tourist trade. Today, 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella (“the most beautiful mask”) placed at the last weekend of the Carnival and judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers.
Cicchetti are small snacks or side dishes, typically served in traditional “bàcari” (cicchetti bars or osterie) in Venice, Northern Italy. Common cicchetti include tiny sandwiches, plates of olives or other vegetables, halved hard boiled eggs, small servings of a combination of one or more of seafood, meat and vegetable ingredients laid on top of a slice of bread or polenta, and very small servings of typical full-course plates. Like Spanish tapas, one can make a meal of them by ordering multiple plates. Normally not a part of home cooking, the cicchetti’s importance lies not just in the food itself, but also in how, when and where they are eaten: with fingers and toothpicks, usually standing up, hanging around the counter where they are displayed in numerous bars, osterie and bacari that offer them virtually all day long. Venice’s many cicchetti bars are quite active during the day, as Venetians (and tourists) typically eat cicchetti in the late morning, for lunch, or as afternoon snacks. Cicchetti are usually accompanied by a small glass of local white wine, which the locals refer to as an “ombra” (shadow). Cicchetti is the plural form. A single piece of cicchetti is a cicchetto.
Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon in Northern Italy. Like Venice itself, it could more correctly be called an archipelago of 4 islands linked by bridges. It’s known for its lacework and brightly colored houses. Burano is situated 7 km from Venice, a 40 minute trip by Venetian motorboats, “vaporetti”. The island is linked to Mazzorbo by a bridge. The current population is about 2,800. It was probably settled by the Romans, and in the 6th century was occupied by people from Altino. The colors of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development - if someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the colors permitted for that lot.