For two weeks the eerie, sinking city will be transformed into what looks like a huge medieval stage, filled with people dressed in fantastically luxe gowns and capes, topped off with those iconic Venetian masks.

Why: The Carnival was first held in the 11th century and lasted for two whole months. Back then, people would dress up, gamble and hold balls in St Mark’s Square.

The tradition fizzled out in the 18th century, but was revived in 1979. Now the focus is on live music and, naturally, those costumes. 

Do it because: When else will you get to wear a sinisterly beautiful porcelain mask, adorned with feathers, paint and gemstones, and not look, well, a bit out of place?

If you don’t want to dress up, the spectacle of all the outfits is reason enough to go.  

February 1 – 14


Photo: Thinkstock