The Venetian Carnival
At the end of winter, the old town and the lakefront are decked out in the colours of hundreds of Venetian masks and costumes. This is another way of discovering the city, which then lives up to its nickname of "Venice of the Alps".
© Didier Baillet / Le Carnaval vénitien
In the magnificent setting that is the city of Annecy, the parade of masks takes place on the second weekend after Mardi Gras (the event can therefore vary between February and March). Several hundred masks wander slowly and freely through the streets of Old Annecy, posing, parading, gathering on the sound stage.
Nobody knows who is behind these masks and these sumptuous & strange costumes, so well highlighted by the colours of the walls of the old quarters. Hundreds of photographers come together to take the most artistic shot and to highlight the colourful palettes coming out of the costumes. Parents and children alike are amazed by the beauty and curiosity of the masks and costumes!
Annecy, during this weekend of festivities, lives up to its nickname of “Venice of the Alps”.
An atmosphere of silence, mystery and refinement pervades the town!
© Gilles Piel / Masques du Carnaval vénitien
© Olivier Puthon
© Olivier Puthon
History of the Venetian Carnival
The ARIA association (Association Rencontres Italie Annecy) was created in 1995, on the initiative of Italian teachers from the Lycée Berthollet in Annecy, as part of school exchanges with Vicenza. These exchanges led to the setting up of a twinning between the two cities the same year. The association promotes Italian culture and language. It offers various cultural activities (conferences, trips, conversation sessions, friendly meals).
Since 1996, it has been organising the Venetian Carnival, which has become a major event in the lake city. On 16 March 1996, the adventure began with dozens of masks participating in this Venetian event. The following year, the event attracted 40 masks and grew in size year after year.
The Carnival then became an unmissable cultural event. In 2003, it took place over two days and welcomed 130 masks, with an increasing number of spectators.
From 2006, the Carnival takes place over three days, with a night-time event on Friday and the installation of the famous podium on which nearly 200 masks are paraded.
Since the 10th edition, the event has continued to grow, both in terms of the number of masks (around 500 in recent years) and the number of spectators. The parade has been replaced by a free wandering of the masks in the old town & on the banks of the lake and a presentation on a sound stage installed in the Jardins de l’Europe.
Since 2016, the Carnival has expanded with the organisation of the “Venetian week”: conferences, exhibitions, concerts and parades.