The Last day of Carnival

[Press of the last day of Carnival in st. Mark Square]There were many and varied festivities that Venetians were only too keen to participate in during Carnival time. The reckless and bloody bullfights, cart-racing, there never-ending costume parties that were organized for the pleasure of the locals in the most beautiful buildings in Venice, or the obligatory walk (the “liston”) to show off the best masks in the city, but the greatest acts of lunacy were saved for the last day of carnival – the wildest and happiest of the whole carnival period. At the heart of festivities was St. Mark’s – a veritable orgy as witnesses of the time describe it. There was much singing and dancing in the general mayhem in St. Mark’s which left people exhausted and gasping for breath. These were the last few hours of freedom. The partying wasn’t just in St. Mark’s but went on throughout the whole city. Thousands of masqueraders ran amok thought the streets and squares with torches lighting up the whole town. An enormous effigy wearing Pantaloon’s mask was put between the two columns in the Square and then burnt while the crowd chanted,

“It’s going, it’s going, the carnival is going!”

as the bells of San Francesco della Vigna tolled slowly and mournfully signifying the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent…