Venice Carnival Traditonal feasts
During Carnival Venice population attended official festivities in the public squares, with dances, music, theatre performances, live entertainment with acrobats, tightrope walkers, puppeteers, street entertainers and fireworks.
As well as these traditional public festivities there were numerous private parties in the patrician houses and palaces, where magnificent and sumptious balls took place and gambling very often had its part.
In fact, in the climate of pleasure of the XVIII century Serenissima Republic, the gambling at the Ridotto at S. Moisé, the public gaming house run by the State, became one of the focal points of the Venetian Carnival.
The Carnival opening event: the Angel's Flight
The Thursday before Shrove Tuesday took place the most theatrical and impressive performance of Venetian Carnival: the flight of the Turkish man, which consisted in the acrobatics of a Turkish man whose waist was tied with ropes, who had to ascend from the dock to the belfry of Saint Mark’s bell-tower and then had to go down to the balcony of Palazzo Ducale to offer a bunch of flowers to the Doge who, from there, was watching the show.
The crowd got so excited, that the event was repeated for centuries, with all sorts of variations of the greatest effect.
A Dove's Flight took the place of the Turkish acrobat flight, with a large wooden dove used to spill out flowers and confetti on the crowds as it descended.
Today the flight it’s performed by a girl dressed as an angel, called the Angel's flight that opens the Carnival celebrations.