Last updated: 7 hours ago
Venetians and tourists on Saturday swapped surgical masks for carnival masks and costumes, to mark the start of the famed Venice Carnival celebrations. Italian authorities revoked the obligation to wear masks outdoors on Friday and visitors were thronging Saint Mark’s Square, enjoying the return of Carnival, after the pandemic had shut the festival down. However, some of the most awaited attractions, such as the Flight of the Angel and the Venice Carnival Costume Competition, were cancelled this year. According to local media, around 80-thousand people, including 32,000 foreign tourists, have arrived to mark the event. This was a small sign of recovery for the city’s local tourism, still trying to recover from the pandemic, and visitor numbers were far fewer than those of previous Carnivals. The Carnival tradition began in Venice during the 11th century and has attracted large numbers of visitors ever since. This year the Venice carnival, runs from February 12 to March 1, leading into the Roman Catholic period of Lent.