The Carnival of Venice is one of the best known and most popular carnivals in the world.
Its origins are ancient: the first evidence dates back to a document of Doge Vitale Falier of 1094, which speaks of public entertainment and in which the word Carnival was mentioned for the first time.
The establishment of the Carnival by the Venetian oligarchy is generally attributed to the need of the Serenissima, to grant to the population a period devoted entirely to the fun and festivities, during which the Venetians and foreigners poured all over the city to party with music and wild dancing.
Through the anonymity guaranteed by masks and costumes, a sort of leveling of all social divisions was obtained and was even authorized the public ridicule of the authorities and aristocracy. These concessions were widely tolerated and considered a providential outburst to the tensions and discontent that inevitably were created within the Republic of Venice, which placed strict limits on issues such as morality and public order of its citizens.
Official website: http://www.carnevale.venezia.it