On February 11, thousands of people, many dressed in costumes and masks, gathered at the Rio de Cannaregio in Venice to watch the spectacular water show that marked the opening of the Carnevale di Venezia, or Carnival of Venice. The brainchild of the creative minds at Corona Events artist company, it featured colorful floating structures and acrobatic performers, many of whom were dressed as sea creatures.
The two-week festival began as a street dance in 1162 to celebrate the victory of the Republic of Venice against Ulrich II von Treven, the patriarch of Aquileia in Northern Italy. The event was observed in various forms until 1797, before being banned by the King of Austria who controlled Venice from 1815 and 1866. Though revived for short periods of time in the nineteenth century, it was not until 1979 that the Italian government made the Carnival a centerpiece of its efforts to showcase the culture and history of Venice. In addition to the water show, visitors can look forward to a wide range of activities including parades, musical performances, and pantomimes, as well as best mask competitions. It is no wonder that the festival attracts over three million visitors each year.
Resources: carnevale.venezia.it, telegraph.co.uk, wikipedia.org