Carnivale a perfectly good excuse to dress up

MASQUERADE: Marks of Carnivale.
MASQUERADE: Marks of Carnivale.

I first learnt of Carnivale in Italy one weekend ago.

After seeing numerous children throughout the week dressed up in costumes I realised it couldn't be because there were a lot of dress-up birthday parties going on.

The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival which ends with Lent, about six weeks before Easter. Although traditionally from Venice, it is celebrated throughout Italy and I spent the week doing many things related to it.

First, I went to the theatre and saw a play acted out in traditional costumes and masks. A Sunday lunch with all of my extended family eating the traditional sweets biscuits of Carnivale was followed the next day by painting mouse features on each other in class to get into the spirit.

Along with celebrating this I have also taken my first trip to the mainland since arriving. I went with my first year art class to Calabria to visit the Riace bronzes, two famous full-size Greek bronze statues from 460-450BC.

After a 20-minute ride on the ferry we arrived with plenty of time to walk around the streets of Calabria which, much to my disappointment, looked exactly like those of Messina. Being only 3km wide, it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise.

This week marked my halfway point in Italy and now I am coming to realise how little time I have to do all the things I want here and how happy I am to have this experience.

The Timaru Herald