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Ah, Venice. What can you say about this world-class city that continues to charm and delight, even with throngs of tourists and rising tides (we had to walk on wooden risers across Piazza San Marco to get to our hotel on a full-moon morning)?
As we wandered past the shop windows along the Procuratie Vecchie on Piazza San Marco later that day at the end of a Viking Star ocean voyage (here's my review), the light seemed just right to capture some of the more fanciful offerings with my iPhone 6. Lamps and figurines and colorful glassware. But especially the masks.
The interesting little site The Mascherade offers this bit of background:
Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. The masks are typically worn during the Carnival (Carnival of Venice), but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.
Venitian masks are characterised by their ornate design, featuring bright colours such as gold or silver and the use of complex decorations in the baroque style. Many designs of Venetian masks stem from Commedia dell'arte. They can be full-face masks (e.g. the bauta) or eye masks (e.g. the Columbina).
Here's another Venice photo gallery from my friend, travel writer Janet Fullwood