One of our most memorable travel experiences was attending the Doge’s Ball in costume at the “Carnevale di Venezia”, or Venice Carnival. If you are in Venice this time of year don’t miss the special Carnival experiences (until Feb. 25th). Check them out here…
Upon arriving in Venice we were taken to the fabulous Gritti Palace on the Grand Canal. After getting settled, we headed out to the costume shop to find our special era costume for the Doge’s Ball the next day. As the shop provided rentals for the many period performances, there was a wealth to choose from. Confident in our selection, we headed out to see the activities of the day. This is the only time you will see costumed locals throughout the St. Mark’s area posing, and participating in local activities like coffee at the famed Florian’s. When you look back on your pictures people will think you were time traveling.
The next night we were taken by gondola to the Palazzo where the Doge’s Ball was held. Getting into a gondola with a full length 18th century evening gown was quite the experience. I feared if I misstepped, I would definitely go to the bottom of the canal as the costume was extremely heavy. As we stepped off the gondola we immediately donned our masks as it was required to walk into the Palazzo. Unfortunately, Palazzos do not have elevators and it was necessary to grab up my gown and head up to the next floor where our 5 course dinner awaited. During dinner, the Doge came by welcoming the guests with his special guests.
After dinner the real festivities started. All three floors of the Palazzo were bustling with special activities. The center floor where we had our feast was immediately transformed into the classical entertainment with opera and classical quartets performing minuets and sonatas. The top floor became the card floor with poker, tarot card readings and other card games. And the ground floor had the disco DJ with dancing and later into the morning, a luxurious breakfast buffet. Needless to say a good time was had by all and the memories were made to last a lifetime. We highly recommend it!