Venice - a magical labyrinth filled with romantic possibilities. It was once an innovative, nature-defiant city. But Venice circa now is decaying. Among many, Venice is most famously known for its Carnevale (Carnival). I was there during the first few days of the festival and managed to get a glimpse of its grandeur.
I drunk a lot of 'Ombra' (a synonym for wine which literally translates to 'rest in the shade') and 'Cicchetti-hopped' my way through the lagoon while trying to learn about the Carnevale tradition. I didn't know much about the carnival before going, but after talking to a few locals, I found that the festival was originally meant to celebrate the lent period (Carne Vale means farewell to meat).
The ubiquitous Carnevale mask acts as a bridge between the holy and unholy world, the rich and the poor, your conscious self and your unconscious one.
Venice once had rigid social classes. During the Carnevale, people of all classes gathered to honour this holy tradition, but what they did to celebrate was anything but holy. During this time, disorder is king. The mask is, therefore, used to cover people's identities so they can forget about their orderly world.
I was anonymous even without a mask. I was in Venice alone and no one knew me. The only mask I had to hide behind was my camera, through which I absorbed everything Venice had to offer.
In Venice, I felt as though I was living between two worlds - the Venice that caters to the tourist and the Venice of the locals.
Unlike the tourist filled center, the outer edges of Venice still feel like small villages. It's here that I sensed the same local pride that I've felt in places that have a lot of history and hardship like in New Orleans. It seemed as if the Venetians here carry the mindset that - it's only HERE that matters. Everywhere else is just...well...elsewhere.
The contrast between this old world and the touristic part of Venice made me wonder if Venice herself is also wearing a mask. With the number of tourists rising and the number of local residents falling each year, it appears that only the masked exterior version of Venice gets all the attention. If you want to get to know the real hidden beauty of Venice, I totally recommend following the path from this site by Skye McAlpine.
After the trip to Venice, I'm inspired to make something local from the Veneto region. I chose Tiramisu from this recipe, which I made for my friends this past weekend. The finished product of this recipe looks very cool and modern. However, I chose to go old-school style in honour of the old-world version of Venice that I love.
And that's it. "Ghe xe tutto fioi", a local Venetian dialect for 'that's all folks' :)