Today is Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday in America!) and marks the last day of Carnivale. For my first experience, I was not disappointed. However, I did feel it was lacking in some areas and after reading my online weekly Venice newspaper this morning, I know that I am not alone.
It seems that attendance was way down this year (which is amazing as I was walking around with all those people to think that there could actually be MORE people here). The first day attendance was down by some 70,000. There are various reasons that have already been proposed.
First, the weather. I dont buy it because I doubt that many people decide to go to Carnivale within 2 days of leaving. The weather was decent until the last few days when the rain came. Second, the world economy. This I buy. My friend, the atelier (costumer designer) told me that she didnt have a single American customer this year and that is usually a strong base in her sales. Its just too expensive right now. Third, the agenda wasnt released until a few days before. I doubt this had a huge impact but it was certainly annoying for even me. I have to chalk that up to 'Venetian time'...they are never in a hurry to do anything. The person in charge, Marco Balic, will no doubt take the brunt of the blame and for my part, I think he did a poor job on capturing the spirit of Carnivale.
I expected more traditional events and atmosphere. Instead, there were too many Halloween costumes and reggae bands around. One would hope that as Venice slowly dies it could hold on to its heritage and its proud history a bit more than it showed during Carnivale. And with this point, the Venetians and I agree.
I am glad I was here and I would like to come back another time and 'do it up right' with the full costume and ball. And I will, right after I win the lottery!