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Venice carnival opens as rowers take to Grand Canal

The Venice Carnival has begun in a dazzling display of colour as rowers took to the city’s Grand Canal to celebrate the start of the annual festival. 

Wearing bright and colourful costumes, the rowers made the Italian city’s waterway into a spectacular ensemble of revelry to mark the carnival’s beginning. 

The grand opening took place last night with illuminated horses and giraffes, bright confetti and other decorations lighting up the January night.  

It runs every year in the lead-up to Lent, beginning every year two weeks before Ash Wednesday and finishing on Shrove Tuesday. 

According to the event’s website the carnival first took place in the 11th century, when it lasted for two months of revelry, but fell into decline in the 18th century. 

It was revived in 1979 and mask-wearing revellers parading around Venice and enjoying live music are now a staple of the Venetian year.

The theme for this year’s carnival, which runs from January 27 to February 13, is ‘Playing’.

The Venice Carnival has begun in a dazzling display of colour as rowers took to the city’s Grand Canal to celebrate the start of the annual festival

Wearing bright and colourful costumes, the rowers made the Italian city's waterway into a spectacular ensemble of revelry to mark the carnival's beginning

Wearing bright and colourful costumes, the rowers made the Italian city’s waterway into a spectacular ensemble of revelry to mark the carnival’s beginning

The colourful boats passed the Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice as they joined in the carnival celebrations

The colourful boats passed the Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice as they joined in the carnival celebrations

The carnival runs every year in the lead-up to Lent, beginning every year two weeks before Ash Wednesday and finishing on Shrove Tuesday

The carnival runs every year in the lead-up to Lent, beginning every year two weeks before Ash Wednesday and finishing on Shrove Tuesday

An array of colourful boats made their way down the Grand Canal as carnival watchers looked on from a jetty

An array of colourful boats made their way down the Grand Canal as carnival watchers looked on from a jetty

The rowers in decorative hats and costumes sailed in front of St Mark's Square in Venice during the colourful parade

The rowers in decorative hats and costumes sailed in front of St Mark’s Square in Venice during the colourful parade

This boat appeared to be mocking Donald Trump with an effigy of the President next to the Star-Spangled Banner. The message reads: 'Mine is longer' 

This boat appeared to be mocking Donald Trump with an effigy of the President next to the Star-Spangled Banner. The message reads: ‘Mine is longer’ 

The revellers on this boat adopted a pirate theme, with skulls and crossbones on their hats and a mock treasure chest

The revellers on this boat adopted a pirate theme, with skulls and crossbones on their hats and a mock treasure chest

A giant prop of a mouse several times bigger than its human companions was among the unusual floats on display

A giant prop of a mouse several times bigger than its human companions was among the unusual floats on display

People wearing masks and costumes such as the reveller pictured above took to the streets and canals of Venice

People wearing masks and costumes such as the reveller pictured above took to the streets and canals of Venice

This person spared no expense in a decorative mask and voluminous white wig, and dressed in a flowing black cloak

This person spared no expense in a decorative mask and voluminous white wig, and dressed in a flowing black cloak

The grand opening took place last night with illuminated horses, bright confetti and other decorations lighting up the January night

The grand opening took place last night with illuminated horses, bright confetti and other decorations lighting up the January night

An illuminated life-size giraffe raising its hind legs was one of the animal props which sailed along the Grand Canal

An illuminated life-size giraffe raising its hind legs was one of the animal props which sailed along the Grand Canal

Dancers with bright red noses are pictured performing during the opening ceremony of the carnival last night

Dancers with bright red noses are pictured performing during the opening ceremony of the carnival last night

A fearsome lion's head was the masthead for this boat of performers as it joined the parade last night

A fearsome lion’s head was the masthead for this boat of performers as it joined the parade last night

A performer dressed as Italian film director Federico Fellini scattered bright confetti to illuminate the January sky

A performer dressed as Italian film director Federico Fellini scattered bright confetti to illuminate the January sky

A performer dressed as Italian film director Federico Fellini scattered bright confetti to illuminate the January sky

More illuminated horses were the centrepiece of this display with a large crowd having gathered to watch on the river bank

More illuminated horses were the centrepiece of this display with a large crowd having gathered to watch on the river bank

According to the event's website the carnival first took place in the 11th century, when it lasted for two months of revelry, but fell into decline in the 18th century

According to the event’s website the carnival first took place in the 11th century, when it lasted for two months of revelry, but fell into decline in the 18th century

These dancers mimicked a circus with a cannon apparently ready to fire a stunt artist during the opening ceremony parade

These dancers mimicked a circus with a cannon apparently ready to fire a stunt artist during the opening ceremony parade

A tightrope walker is pictured performing along the Cannaregio Canal in Venice during last night's festivities

A tightrope walker is pictured performing along the Cannaregio Canal in Venice during last night’s festivities



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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