I know it looks like I'm getting ahead of myself here, but who says you can't start projecting Carnevale? St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) and the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) may be the first things on the itinerary after traversing the Grand Canal, but if you're specifically headed towards Venice for the greatest, most theatrical, most exciting event of the year, you might want to dress for the occasion. MotH and I attended Venice's carnevale back in 2004 and I really had no idea what to expect. It was miserably cold, raining, people everywhere...but nothing could dampen the bedazzling spectacle of the costumed, masked characters parading through alleys and squares (honestly it was more like they were floating). They were elegant, beguiling - untouchable - a grandiose presence of immortals among mere beings like the rest of us. And I thought it was enough to wear a silly red cape? I knew then and there that if ever there were to be a next time, I'd be going in style and totally vamped.
Vamped, of course, has nothing to do with pale-skinned bloodsuckers and I was impressed with Venetian Masks and the quality and variety of masks which they offer on their website. The company ships from the United States which makes it that much more possible to celebrate Carnevale, italian-style, right in your own hometown. Masquerade balls also came to mind when I saw the more elaborate items. Zanni, Colombina, Arlecchino - the color and details are incredible and you don't even have to fly all the way to Italy (or risk getting ashed out by Eyjafjallajökull) to get them! Here are a few images to give you a small taste of Venetian Masks, but do take a look to see for yourself.