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Every year during Carnevale di Venezia, which takes place during the ten days prior to Lent, Venice transforms as elaborately costumed and masked men and women take to the streets.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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In Venice, Carnevale is all about the masks. They are worn by costumed visitors and are for sale everywhere, including at outdoor kiosks.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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Carnevale reached its zenith in the 18th century and experienced a resurgence in the 1980s. Today, more than a million visitors come to participate in the festivities.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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Masks have been a Venice tradition for centuries. In the 18th century they were used as disguise, making many transgressions possible. During Carnevale they are the focal point of each costume.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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Many participants in Carnevale, like Laura and Armando from Milan, come each year to transform their day-to-day persona into a fantasy character from another century.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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At night there are elaborate parties as revelers hit the streets. Costumed and masked men and women in 18th-century finery rub shoulders with party-goers in 21st-century denim and leather.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) is a prime location for seeing and photographing costumed visitors. This lady in green poses in the early morning light with St. Mark's Basilica in the background.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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This Carnevale model poses with The Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs, sculpted on the corner of the former entrance to the Doge's Palace in Piazza San Marco.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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During Carnevale, even mundane tasks like visits to the ATM are done in costume.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
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Even in the less touristy areas around town, there's a chance that a beautifully costumed person will suddenly appear on a bridge or at a café.  
Credit: Ellen Clark 
 
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