This Sunday, January 27th, to do their part to inaugurate Carnevale, the area remiere will form a Corteo (procession) of traditional Venetian rowing craft, from caorline to mascarete, cruising up the Grand Canal. The procession will commence at 10:15 at the Punta della Dogana, and will have at its center una peata, one of the largest barche a remo there are (see the video of the frozen canals in the post below). For the procession, the peata will serve as a floating stage for acrobats, musicians, and even flamethowers. As is the tradition, all us vogatori will be in costume and si fermeranno along the way for refreshments, at the Salute or the Accademia or the Rialto, until they reach the Fondamenta Cannaregio around midday, where they’ll halt public transport for the festivities. There’ll be bancarelle serving traditional Venetian Carnevale fare. (Fritelle, anyone?) Head that way yourself to take part in the festivities, boat or no boat, it will be as Venetian as you can get these days, and a great contrast to the subsequent 17th century reenactments to follow as Carnevale progresses.
On a recent Sunday morning I rowed on the Canal with friends (no corteo), and it was perfect: few taxis and no transport boats, only the normal vaporetti and other vogatori taking advantage of Canal quiet.) In contrast, this should be quite a spectacle; keep your fingers crossed that the weather holds.
Do take lots of photos (I’ll be the one in the costume).
A footnote: Out of respect for the families of the two workers that suffocated in the hold of a freighter in Porto Marghera a few days ago, the Saturday morning festivities that normally launch Carnevale in Piazza San Marco have been rescheduled. I understand that the volo del Angelo (which won’t be an angel at all, as you may have heard) will fly instead on Sunday. Me par giusto.
For official Venice Carnival 2008 info, check the official Venezia Carnevale 2008 website.