The Carnival of Venice occurs annually in the city of Venice, Italy. Normally, it is scheduled to end with the Christian celebration of Lent and specifically on Shrove Tuesday; the one which comes before Ash Wednesday. The most distinct feature which is also known to attract the most attention to the event is its elaborate masks.
The history of Venice carnival dates back to 1162. Initially, its intent was to commemorate the victory of the Serenissima Repubblica against the Patriarch of Aquileia. In those years, the carnival was characterized by people dancing and making reunions in San Marco Square. In the seventeenth century, the carnival was seen as a way of saving the highly regarded image of Venice in the world and became very famous in the eighteenth century where it encouraged extreme liberty and pleasure.
However, in 1797 when the King of Austria sat on the throne, the festival was outlawed and masks were forbid strictly. It was to be restored again in 1979 as a highlighted entity in the Italian Government’s efforts to bring back the history and culture of Venice.
Approximately 3 million tourists come to Venice annually for the festival. The mainstay of the event is the contest for the most beautiful mask which is normally scheduled on the last weekend of the carnival. The winning mask is selected by a panel of judges; these are International costume and fashion designers.