Whenever Carnevale di Venezia time comes around, I always think of the great experience my family and I had in Venice painting our own mask. It was our first trip to Venice, and although we were going to be there during the summer, I could not get the lore of the magical masks worn at Carnival time out of my mind.
Before we left on our trip, I did a few searches and was excited to find a place called Ca’Macana in the heart of Venice where they conducted educational classes and mask making workshops. Ca’Macana is one of the oldest mask making workshops in Venice and has a rich tradition of mask making from their incredible designs used in films (Eyes Wide Shut) as well as theatres around the world including the Vienna Opera Haus. After a few email exchanges, our experience was booked! (Since this time, their website appears to have become much more robust, so booking may be easier.)
Once we were actually in Venice, and after several days of wandering the narrow alleys and bridges, we were excited for our morning mask making experience. We arrived at their workshop and were promptly told to put on aprons and pick a mask. There were a variety of shapes and styles, from classic eye masks, to full face masks, to the eire, yet iconic mask that plague doctors used to wear.
After we chose our style, we were able to paint as we liked. We were given help and suggestions if we needed them yet, by the most part left alone with our creations. Once the paint dried, we put on a sealant and threaded ribbon through the holes to wear it.
There’s no doubt that this class was one of the most memorable aspects of our time in Venice. Not only did I get a chance to sit down and do art, but we also were able to learn a rich part of Venice’s history. The best part is we all got to come home with a very unique and personal souvenir. Although there are many, many different types of beautiful masks available throughout Venice, buying a mask just wouldn’t have been the same!
Carnevale di Venezia – Official site for Venice’s Carnival celebrations