I uploaded this photo in Facebook and a friend commented that it is an iconic photo of Venice. Masks have always been a distinguishing feature of Venice because of the Carnival. Historically, people were allowed to wear them from the festival of St. Stephen's Day, December 26, the start of the Carnival to Shrove Tuesday which marked the end .
The Carnival in Venice originated in 1162 when the State of Venice won in the war against Ulrico, Patriarch of Aquileia. To celebrate this victory, dances were organized every year in St. Mark's Square. When magicians joined the celebration, a special kind of street theather was born.
Today, the carnival is a celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This year the Carnival was held from February 14-24.