'It will be fun': Venice carnival kicks off hoping for a brighter year

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By Camille Pauvarel
'It will be fun': Venice carnival kicks off hoping for a brighter year
Copyright  AP video

After two years of silence, participants can finally celebrate the return of the famous carnival and parade around Venice's Saint-Mark's square, now that they can swap surgical masks for traditional ones.

"It's a little different because it's much quieter, we don't so have many festivities, but we'll make our own parties and festivities, so it will be fun," said Fiona Spagnuolo, an Australian resident in Venice.

"For me, wearing this costume is a symbol of regrowth. By dressing up, I'm hoping to bring a bit of Carnival to Venice, and I hope to see many special masks this time around," said Matteo, a tourist from Vicenza.

All is not back to normal as some of the most awaited events, such as the Flight of the Angel and the costume competition, have been cancelled.

On Friday, Italy revoked the obligation to wear masks outdoors, but the city of Venice still asked people to keep it in crowded areas.

"It's a bit difficult because there are so few people, but you know, we're still alive and we want to show everybody that we're still here," says Cristina Verardo, a German resident in Venice. 

"And it's wonderful. It's so beautiful here. Come to Venice, everyone, whether there is COVID or not." 

According to local media, around 80,000 people have arrived to mark the event, including 32,000 foreign tourists — a number far from the usual 3 million visitors.

This year the carnival will be running until 1 March.