Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival

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The Carnival of Venice, one of the world's oldest festivals, began on February 1. Along with the carnivals of Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale, it is one of the most well-known carnivals Europe.
© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniThe Carnival of Venice, one of the world's oldest festivals, began on February 1.

Above: A masked reveler poses along the flooded St. Mark's Square during a period of seasonal high water on the first day of carnival. Venice February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The Carnival of Venice, one of the world's oldest festivals, began on February 1.

Above: A masked reveler poses along the flooded St. Mark's Square during a period of seasonal high water on the first day of carnival. Venice February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniAlong with the carnivals of Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale, it is one of the most well-known carnivals in Europe.

Above: Masked revelers walk on raised platforms above flood waters during a period of seasonal high water and on the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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Along with the carnivals of Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale, it is one of the most well-known carnivals in Europe.

Above: Masked revelers walk on raised platforms above flood waters during a period of seasonal high water and on the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniThe first recorded carnival in Venice dates back to 1268.

Above: A masked reveler poses in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The first recorded carnival in Venice dates back to 1268.

Above: A masked reveler poses in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini The carnival tradition in Venice fell into decline in 18th century, but was revived in 1970s.

Above: Masked revelers pose in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The carnival tradition in Venice fell into decline in 18th century, but was revived in 1970s.

Above: Masked revelers pose in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini The contest for the most beautiful mask is one of the most important parts of the Venetian carnival.

Above: Masked revelers pose near a canal next to St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The contest for the most beautiful mask is one of the most important parts of the Venetian carnival.

Above: Masked revelers pose near a canal next to St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniMasks have always been a central feature of the Venice carnival.

Above: A masked reveler poses in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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Masks have always been a central feature of the Venice carnival.

Above: A masked reveler poses in front of St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© REUTERS / Stefano RellandiniMask makers, known as 'mascareri', hold a special position in Venetian society, with their own guild founded in 1436.

Above: Iranian mask artisan Hamid works on a carnival mask in his shop "Ca' del Sol" near St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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Mask makers, known as 'mascareri', hold a special position in Venetian society, with their own guild founded in 1436.

Above: Iranian mask artisan Hamid works on a carnival mask in his shop "Ca' del Sol" near St. Mark's square during the first day of carnival. Venice, February 1, 2015.
© AP Photo / Fabio MuzziThe main feature of the Carnival of Viareggio is the parade of floats and masks depicting caricatures of popular politicians, showmen and athletes.

Above: Floats depicting Italian Premier Matteo Renzi are shown at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The main feature of the Carnival of Viareggio is the parade of floats and masks depicting caricatures of popular politicians, showmen and athletes.

Above: Floats depicting Italian Premier Matteo Renzi are shown at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
© AP Photo / Fabio MuzziThe carnival parade is held on the Viareggio avenie, located alongside the beach.

Above: A float depicting United States President Barack Obama called "The Big Cold" is displayed at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The carnival parade is held on the Viareggio avenie, located alongside the beach.

Above: A float depicting United States President Barack Obama called "The Big Cold" is displayed at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
© AP Photo / Fabio MuzziThe first carnival parade was held in Viareggio in 1873.

Above: A float depicting Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is shown at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
Glamorous Masquerade: Italy's Dramatic Carnival - Sputnik International
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The first carnival parade was held in Viareggio in 1873.

Above: A float depicting Italian Premier Matteo Renzi is shown at the traditional Viareggio Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. February 1, 2015.
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