Where to buy authentic Venetian Carnival masks

Carnival is usually celebrated in most Christian nations. It falls 6 weeks before Easter. One of the most authentic carnival events in Europe is the one in Venice. But for you to join in the fun, you must have access to Venetian carnival masks that you should wear at the Masquerade Ball. We show you what and where to get these incredible pieces of masks.

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Types of masks

The Carnival of Venice is celebrated 40 days before Easter. It happens on the day of the Mardi Gras also called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. It is celebrated a day before Ash Wednesday in the Christian world.

Venetian carnival masks are the main attractions of the celebration of Fat Tuesday in Venice. As in the olden days, the masks were allowed to be worn already in December, continuing until Mardi Gras.

  • Composition

Masks are made from different types of materials such as porcelain, leather or glass. Originally, these masks had simple designs and were more symbolic in nature than anything else. They were also designed to be worn in a practical and easy way. These days, Venetian carnival masks use gesso and gold leaf techniques. The masks are hand painted with the use of natural feathers. Gems and stones are also added to decorate them.

PHOTO GALLERY Venetian Carnival costumes: best masks and outfits

There are different types of Venetian carnival masks as follows:

  • Bauta

They are heavily gilded masks covering the entire face. The designs are grotesque characterised by a thick nose, pointed chin and the absence of a mouth. You can buy this type of mask at Simply Masquerade (simplymasquerade.co.uk) for £29.95.

  • Columbina

A modern mask, the Columbina is a half mask that covers the eyes, nose and cheeks. It is often decorated with feathers, gold, crystal and silver. Amazon UK sells them in 4 different colours at £6.99 a piece.

  • Medico della pesta

Also known as The Plague Doctor mask, this carnival accessory is simply bizarre consisting of two holes for the eyes and a long pointed beak. Ebay sells these masks in white for $18.66 while a Plague Doctor Venetian Mask in brown leather costs $29.95.

Other favourite masks

Then there is the Volto mask which is the stamp mark of Venetian carnival masks. It covers the entire face and is stark white. Get a Volto ‘Cruise’ Mask from Venetian Masks Shop (venetianmasksshop.com) for £120. A cheaper option is to get it at Just Posh Masks (justposhmasks.com) for £35.

You can also buy Pantalone, a half mask representing an old man. Ebay sells this type of mask for £65.31. Try Arlecchino, a half mask in black featuring an ape-like nose. It costs from a low of £71.72 and could go as high as £180 a piece depending on the detail and quality of work.

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