The Carnival in Venice has begun with the traditional Flight of the Angel down a zipwire from the top of St. Mark’s basilica.
For 17 days every year the stunning lagoon city becomes the Capital of Fun as Venetians and tourists alike don masks and extravagant costumes to make merry. The city’s population swells with visitors, taking part or just spectating,
In fact the event is a homage to a 16th century event, when a visiting Turkish sailor ascended a tightrope from his ship to the top of the basilica.
Today the honour is bestowed on the winner of a beauty contest, often a fraught affair riddled with rivalry. But everyone agreed that this year’s contest had been friction-free, and that 22-year-old student Julia Nasi was a worthy and popular winner.
One of the oldest carnivals in the world, the Venice event was designed as a lusty antidote to the 40 days of doing without that is Lent, which precedes Easter.