Venice Carnival masks used to be made from glass, or sometimes leather, but most modern masks are made from modern plastic materials that are easier to make and last much longer. Venice Carnival is especially famous for its ornate masks. Carnival masks are given elaborate decorations and details, with no two masks looking quite the same! For centuries, Venetians used masks to hide their identities while they gambled, drank, and got up to no good. The masks offered a simple way to protect your reputation without having to abstain from any less than reputable activities. If you’d like to learn more, you should check out our complete guide to Venetian masks!
The Venice Carnival costumes are just as famous as the masks and lots of visitors ask us how they should dress during the carnival. The quick answer is that you should dress in whatever makes you feel comfortable. Whilst lots of people dress up for the Venice Carnival, there is no standard dress code and no one is expected to dress a certain way.
If you’re just walking around Venice, enjoying the spectacle of the carnival and taking in a few tours, then you may not want to be encumbered with a full costume. It’s usually enough to wear a mask if you want to join in and look the part.
However, if you’re attending one or two Venetian masked balls or parties during the Venice Carnival, you will want to look your best and to fit in with the crowd. For this, most revellers dress in the kinds of traditional clothing worn by Venice’s aristocracy during the Renaissance, between the 14th and 17th centuries. Obviously, this period occurred over a long time and styles changed throughout, but there is a unifying aesthetic to Venetian clothing during this time that continues to be appealing in the 21st century. Expect long, ornate dresses with ruffled sleeves and elegant velvet cloaks and capes. You don’t need to buy your own outfit, however, as you can rent your Venice Carnival costume from us directly!