This year, one of Rough Guides' roaming authors and photographers, Kiki Deere, returned to northern Italy for one of Europe's most memorable festivals. Here, she shares 13 stunning pictures of the Venice Carnival.
"Interestingly this tradition was only revived in 1979 after falling out of fashion for a number of years, but Venetian masks have a long and intriguing history – thanks to a rigid caste system and a desire to indulge in vices that encouraged anonymity."
"This year Carnival began on the last weekend of January, with an inaugural regatta featuring a spectacular fleet of boats and rowers dressed in colourful costumes. In the run up to Lent a plethora of events take place throughout the city, with festivities culminating on the day of Shrove Tuesday. People amble along the streets donning wonderfully elaborate costumes and distinctive masks, often pausing along the Grand Canal to be photographed. The city’s exclusive Caffè Florian on St Mark’s Square is a traditional gathering place for those in costume, who ostentatiously pose for passers-by in the café window."
An explosion of colours during the Venice regatta
A beautifully ornate costume representing the sun
Strutting and posing along the Riva degli Schiavoni
A feminine outfit speckled with faux diamonds and gems
Lost in thought in period costume
Views of San Giorgio Maggiore at sunset
Sparkling earrings and gold-laced headdress adorned with flowers
A blue and peach coloured dress representing a majestic sunflower
An elaborate mask embellished with silver and golden patterns
A refined blue and green ensemble characterized by showy feathers
Taking a stroll in St Mark’s Square
Twinkling attire with a silver moon-shaped mask to match
Intricately decorated costume with peacock feathers