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Infographic: A Guide to Venetian Masks

A big part of the Venice Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations are the ornate masquerade masks which are often designed with colorful feathers and jewels. With so many masks available, it can be quite difficult to choose the right one for you. Aside from that, your mask and outfit can vary depending on the occasion. Here’s our guide to help you decide which mask best suits your taste.

venetian masks infographic

Columbina

The Columbina, or Colombina in Italian, is a mask named after a maidservant character in Commedia Dell’arte. It is a half mask that is usually painted in gold or silver, and often adorned in various jewels and feathers. This mask used to be worn exclusively by women, but there are versions made for men as well. If you’re one who loves to smile and want to show it to everyone, or just love being able to talk freely, then this mask is a good pick.

Volto

Complete anonymity. That’s what the volto brings to anyone who wants to wear it. It’s simple and easily covers the entire face. These masks can be plain white, or covered with colorful ornaments and feathers. Long ago this mask was so common during carnivals that it was referred to as the “citizen mask”.

Bauta

This full face mask features a square jaw and a protruding chin. Not only does it conceal the face, but its chin also has a practical use. The chin protrudes outwards enabling the wearer to eat and drink freely while still covering their faces. This is another mask that has been extensively worn during the prominence of the Carnival. The Bauta is usually worn as part of a costume that consists of a tricorn hat and a long cape called “Tabarro”, adding another air of mystery to anyone who wears it. Long ago, it was pretty easy to conceal a firearm underneath the costume, so the government of Venice needed to enact a law that prevents any wearer of the Bauta to carry arms.

Medico Della Peste

A mask with a macabre history behind it, this mask was used by physicians of the 17th century to protect themselves from the plague and other diseases. The eyeholes were covered with lenses and the tip of the beak held flowers and herbs that can hide the smells of sickness and deterioration. Nowadays it’s just a mask used for carnivals or Halloween parties, with its old uses forgotten by most people who wear them.

 Moretta

Moretta means “dark”, as is the color of the mask. A full face mask like the volto, the color gives it a more mysterious vibe to whoever wears it. Now this mask is strange, not because of how the mask looks, but how it was kept in place to the face. It was held to the face by a button inside the mask clamped with the wearer’s front teeth. This rendered the wearer mute and forcing them to talk to others with their body language. It is traditionally worn by women, accentuating the curves of the woman’s face. Nowadays these masks have straps attached to them, considering it can be quite uncomfortable if it was simple held by the teeth for a long time.

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Lisa

Lisa

I'm a mother of two and constantly searching for ways to have adventures and create memories as a new family. I love all things Disney, I'm obsessed with family costumes, and I will find any excuse to dress up and celebrate.

Lisa plays the role of the Fairy Godmother on the Pure Costumes team.
Lisa

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