Venice Carnival returns as Italy eases covid rules

Carnevale returns to Italy's lagoon city after two years.

Carnival celebrations kicked off in Venice on Saturday after the last two editions of the annual festivities were curtailed due to the covid-19 pandemic.

This year's carnevale season in Venice, running until 1 March under the title "Remember the Future", comes as Italy eases its covid restrictions including the lifting of a requirement to wear surgical masks outdoors unless in crowded areas.

The 2020 edition was called off at the last minute, when covid first hit northern Italy, and the 2021 carnival was held mainly online due to coronavirus concerns.

This year costumed visitors can look forward to "live music, circus-theatre, puppets, acrobatics and clownery", reports news agency ANSA, with an open-air theatre at the Arsenale and a "scenographic installation" in Piazza S. Marco.

Another traditional event, the Festa delle Marie pageant, will be held on 14 February at the Scuola Grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista where the 12 "Marias" will be selected, with the winner being crowned "Maria del Carnevale 2022" at Teatro La Fenice on 28 February.

The Carnevale di Venezia dates back to the 14th century, maybe earlier, and over the centuries the event was frequently forbidden under various rulers.

The modern version of the Venice Carnival, as we know it today, has taken place for the last 100 years.

Carnival ends each year the day before Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of Lent, traditionally a period of fasting and abstinence leading up to Easter.

For full programme details see Carnevale di Venezia official website.