Feb
17

Arrivederci Carnival

By

I had no intention of going to the Piazza San Marco during Carnival, much less on Martedi’ Grasso, otherwise known (not here) as Mardi Gras, the last day of the fracas.

But the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and we figured, why not?  So we went.

It was less chaotic than I had imagined, which was nice.  In fact, it verged on the placid.

And best of all, MY “Maria” won the pageant, and was crowned the Maria of 2015.  I was as shocked to discover my wish being fulfilled as I was the one night in my life that my bag was first onto the carousel at baggage claim at I can’t remember what airport.  And just as happy, too.

Here are some glances at the closing hours of revelry, not including the fireworks which we heard later on.  It seemed as if they were exploding from various points in the city and gave a satisfying concluding note to it all.

The contestants vying for the prize for best costume had very fine costumes,though not many were as original as what we saw outside the show ring.  This doge and his attendant (I'd have to study up on who his servant represented.  One of the Council of Ten?  Doubtful.)  The pair came from Palermo because they love Venice.  I myself thin it would have been much cooler for him to have dressed up as Roger II of Sicily, or some other local notable.  But that's just the way I think.

The contestants vying for the prize for best costume had very fine outfits, though not many were as original as what we saw outside the show ring. This doge and his attendant (I’d have to study up on who his servant represented. One of the Council of Ten? Doubtful.) came from Palermo because they love Venice. I myself think it would have been much cooler for him to have dressed up as Roger II of Sicily, or some other non-Venetian notable. Dressing as a doge in Venice is like dressing up as Wyatt Earp in Dodge City.

This extraordinary personage came into the special area (entrance ticket: 30 euros) a little late, and after a brief while departed.

This extraordinary personage came into the special area (entrance ticket: 30 euros) a little late, and after a brief while departed.

I imagine that after a while, she needed a place to sit down and rest her stilts.

I imagine that eventually she needed a place to sit down and rest her stilts.

I'm always glad to see some costume that isn't an 18th-century-powdered-wig-tricorn-hat-walking-stick-beauty-spot event.  No matter how elaborate that sort of outfit may be (and the gowns almost always look as if they're made of upholstery fabric), it's a look that isn't very imaginative, and becomes very monotonous.  So this turbaned wonder gets points from me.

I’m always glad to see some costume that isn’t an 18th-century-powdered-wig-tricorn-hat-walking-stick-beauty-spot conglomeration. No matter how elaborate that sort of outfit may be (and the gowns almost always look as if they’re made of upholstery fabric), it’s a look that isn’t very imaginative, and becomes very monotonous. So this turbaned wonder gets points from me.

On the other end of the spectrum was this homegrown marvel, whose costume basically means nothing and whose sign (in Venetian) translates as: I've got a lion between my leg, grr grr meow meow."  Still, people were happy to be photographed with him, even if they didn't know what it said.

On the other end of the spectrum was this homegrown marvel, whose costume basically means nothing and whose sign (in Venetian) translates as: “I’ve got a lion between my legs, grr grr meow meow.” Still, people were happy to be photographed with him, even if they didn’t know what it said.

This astonishing family seems to have been born and bred in a pastry shop.  First I thought the cakes were fake, but now I'm not so sure.  If the hats are real, I want to be there when they bet against eating them.

This astonishing family seems to have been born and bred in a pastry shop. At first I thought the cakes were fake, but now I’m not so sure. If the hats are real, I want to be there when they bet against eating them.

Food as accessory.  I like it.  You don't have to keep it clean or find somewhere to store it.

Food as accessory. I like it. You don’t have to keep it clean or find somewhere to store it.

I like a lady who takes her rat out for a promenade.

I like a lady who takes her rat out for a promenade.

And I especially like that she gave the little rodent a Carnival mask.

And I especially like that she gave the little rodent a Carnival mask.

Yes, those are security people.  I believe they were armed; there was some publicity about extra surveillance of the piazza this year.

Yes, those are security people. I believe they were armed; there was some publicity about extra surveillance of the piazza this year.

And here is Irene Rizzi, the Maria of 2015, bigger than life on the jumbotron behind the stage.  She's all decked out in some Chinese headdress for reasons that were unclear, though the presenters were babbling something about Marco Polo and the spice trade.

And here is Irene Rizzi, the Maria of 2015, bigger than life on the jumbotron behind the stage. She’s all decked out in some Chinese headdress for reasons that were unclear, though the presenters were babbling something about Marco Polo and the spice trade.

The supreme moment of the afternoon was the closing event: Drawing a version of the Venetian flag up the same cable that the "Angel" had slid down, all the way to the top of the campanile of San Marco.  A small group of men sang the "Hymn of San Marco" in an oddly drifty, lounge-y way.  I'd have brought in trumpets, myself.

The supreme moment of the afternoon was the closing event: Drawing a version of the Venetian flag up the same cable that the “Angel” had slid down, all the way to the top of the campanile of San Marco. A small group of men sang the “Hymn of San Marco” in an oddly drifty, lounge-y way. I’d have brought in trumpets, myself.

And up it went.  The wind was very cooperative in adding verve to the procedure.

And up it went. The wind was very cooperative in adding verve to the procedure.

A man was waiting at the summit to wrangle the banner inboard.

A man was waiting at the summit to wrangle the banner inboard.

I think it's so wonderful that these three ladies came out that I do not know what else to say. I love them.

I think it’s so wonderful that these three ladies came out that I do not know what else to say. I love them.

IMG_5903  putt mardi crop

Sunset is totally the best time to be in the piazza.

Sunset is totally the best time to be in the piazza.

See you next year.

See you next year.

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Categories : Venetian Events

Comments

  1. Yvonne says:

    I am so pleased that your lovely young lass is THE Maria for 2015. I did hear some rumours about vote rigging from the Castello sestiere, but that was probably sour grapes, right?

    I adore the rat in its mask, and the 3 elderly ladies enjoying the spectacle.

    Thank you for a superb wrap-up, oh Inspired One.

    Now, let’s see. When does Lent begin in 2016?

  2. Gi says:

    So glad that you went to the Piazza, and that you shared. Thank you, Erla.

  3. Alexandra Seutcheu says:

    I love the pastry family!! And the last photo of the flag unfurling by the tower is just beautiful.
    Thank you Erla, for sharing.
    Alex xx

  4. Julietta says:

    Thanks for transporting me. It was great! Carnevale from my front room in England. Fave. costumes were the family with the cakes. The Maria who you favored was v. beautiful but then we didn’t get to see the others in close up, to compare them! How d’you already know that Feb.10th is Ash Wednesday next year? I’m impressed!

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Hugely simple: I googled it. If you ever want to know the meaning of life, you can google that too. Meanwhile, I’m kicking myself for not having nabbed Mr. and Mrs. Cake and their two Cupcakes to ask them all sorts of questions. I literally do not know where my mind was so now I’m angry at my brain also.