Carnival = Carnevale (farewell to meat, the beginning of Lent)
Today we took a day-trip to Venice. My initial impression when I stepped off the train in the middle of downtown was: Disneyland. Music was playing, aqua blue water was floating through the canal, gondolas afloat, and people were everywhere. After walking a few blocks and turning through a few very narrow allies (as are typical in Venice), you'd suddenly be completely alone and away from the crowd. When we first arrived, Juli was using Google Maps to take us to a leather store. The GPS took us straight to a dead-end with water... so we bought day tickets for the water taxi. This peculiar "water bus" functioned exactly like a city metro, with lines, "train" or boat numbers, and set schedules. After accidentally walking across the entire island of Venice, from West (where the train station is) to East, we put our taxi tickets to use and rode the boat all the way back. This took about an hour... in Venice we had walked eight miles, completely unaware that we were getting such a workout!
At lunch, I had a bellini, which is a Venezian specialty. It was the best one I've had while in Italy, so I am not surprised.
Carnival began Saturday night, so the streets were filled with people in masks and costumes. I couldn't be left out, so I purchased a mask for 6 Euro. It looked more "authentic" to me than the ones covered in sparkles, until Juli told me they were all made in China. Certainly, the masks are a perfect "souvenir" that must be produced en masse, but you would think a city with a rich history and practice in mask-making would take pride in these items coming from local craftsmen.