The Enigmatic Faces of Carnevale

Carnevale, a centuries-old Venice festival invites “shadow play.”

And, soon it will be upon us again for 2019. It begins just a week from today on Saturday, February 16 and the city will be awash with people clad in magnificent costumes and spectators will be pressing in from all sides. If you’re not a fan of crowds, and if you loathe being pushed and shoved, this event is not for you. But, if you can steel yourself for navigating the challenging logistics of crowd control, then you’re in for a treat that will dazzle your eyes.

Faces of Carnevale, Italywise

Explosion of Celebration – © Jed Smith

The real kickoff is “il volo dell’angelo” or “The Flight of the Angel”

And this is where the real people watching begins. This is when an accomplished pair of binoculars or a worthy telephoto lens becomes your best friend. I highly encourage you to watch this excellent YouTube video which takes you as close to the event as possible without being there.

Getting back to the core theme of this post, the faces of Carnevale…

I’m a huge fan of Carl Jung and his belief in the importance of shadow integration. I agree that dysfunction, neurosis, and a host of other “fractured” psychological issues come from trying to only accept the good or acceptable parts of ourselves while doing our best to carve away the less desirable and less acceptable parts. Then come along events like Halloween and Carnevale which invite people to temporarily step out of their usual personas and embody alter-egos. I believe it’s an intuitive, albeit short-lived, attempt to integrate their shadow sides—all within a sense of play.

People don these ‘other” selves with great relish.

As a photographer, I gobble this up and I snap away. I’m also amazed at how most people don’t shrink from my scrutiny and my camera. I wonder how many people slip back into the scenery when they don’t have the safety of the mask and when then re-enter their daily lives.

So, with those musings as context, I invite you to the view a few of my favorite images from Carnevale just three years ago. I’d been fortunate enough to score a special pass into the inner sanctum, which is probably the only way I’d consider tackling it again!

  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise
  • Faces of Carnevale, Italywise

All images © Jed Smith of ItalyWise.

If you’ve enjoyed this post…

I invite you to view other posts in which images have inspired multiple topics about life in Italy and life in general.

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By |2019-02-07T13:47:45+01:00February 7th, 2019|A Romance with Venice, Color, Exploring the Veneto|4 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. John Maragni February 7, 2019 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to attending this event hopefully next year. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images.

    • Jed February 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      You’re visual senses will be on fire, I promise!

  2. Elizabeth Ann Flanagan Wholey February 7, 2019 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks Jed, beautiful video. You are so lucky to be able to witness Venezia at Carnevale!

    • Jed February 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Elizabeth, maybe we can do it together one year?

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