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Venice Carnival - Got to do this again next year!

We’ve been taking photographers to Venice for several years now. This year, we went during Carnevale and what a great time we had! The whole city was transformed into a magical wonderland full of mysterious creatures clad in costumes and masks of every colour and design. I’m not surprised it’s rated one of the best carnivals in the world. People come from all over the world to strut their stuff and they must spend a fortune on their outfits. Luckily, that is, for us photographers! We had so much fun, we’re doing it again twice in 2020!

We’d seen pictures but really, nothing prepares you for the colours! The number and variety of masqueraders in the streets and squares is jaw-dropping and they’re all just waiting to strike a pose so that you can get your shots. One of our group had been to Venice during the carnival before, so we had insider knowledge on where to go and when. The secret, we were told, is to hit the streets early and head for San Marco Square where many of our mystical photographic subjects were waiting for us 🙂 It’s no exaggeration to say that everywhere you look, there’s another opportunity to get brilliant captures.

Then, back to our hotel for a really good breakfast. The airport bus took us almost to the hotel door -  just a 2-minute walk and we were in the foyer so we didn’t have to lug cases and camera gear for miles or go to the expense of catching a water bus or taxi. Unsurprisingly, we’ve booked the same hotel for next year. After breakfast everybody had a chance to do their own thing for the rest of the morning. We had a coffee (Italian coffee…mmm - the best in my book) or a glass of wine at one of the many canal-side cafes on both days. Others in our group took the opportunity to browse the many shops or grab forty winks in the hotel room to get ready for the afternoon’s excitement - more photography 🙂

Venice Carnival 2019

We spent three nights in the hotel, giving us two full days of shooting. On both days, we had a relaxed lunch - the pizzas are pretty good (we are in Italy, after all) but there’s a good choice of other Italian dishes and food from a few other cultures too, if I remember rightly. Most of us also sampled the ice cream. Rude not to. After lunch - well, more photography, of course.

The beauty of Venice during this Italian mid-winter festival is the buzzing atmosphere and the freedom to explore - because carnival is EVERYWHERE! It’s architecturally such a beautiful place any time of year but for about two and a half weeks in February, Venice is totally vibrant. We photographed more masqueraders plus, on the second day of our visit, the procession and the antics on stage. During our stay, we shot a sunrise from Academia Bridge and also did an after-dark shoot to capture the lights of this extraordinary city. We really packed everything in!

This year, we ate both nights in a very good restaurant with a menu and range of wines to suit our particular group’s taste and pocket. Next time, we’ll try another couple of places. Like all our trips, there’s no obligation to eat together and everyone can do whatever floats their gondola. Some areas of Venice are expensive but it doesn’t have to break the bank to have a decent meal. And talking of gondolas, we did the tourist thing and hired one of these traditional crafts for a lazy drift down the narrow canals and under the many bridges which link the city together.

I am really looking forward to our 2020 Venice Carnival trips. We like to keep groups small so that I can help people if they want it. There are just six photographers in a group. We’ve got two spaces left on the 19th-22nd February trip. Message me if it’s something you would like to do.