With the 2018 carnival season about to kick off, Rough Guides author and photographer, Kiki Deere, revisits one of Europe's most colourful festivals: Venice Carnival.
Venice's tradition of Carnival was only revived in 1979 after falling out of fashion for a number of years, but Venetian masks have a long and intriguing history – thanks to a rigid caste system and a desire to indulge in vices that encouraged anonymity.
Usually taking place on the last weekend of January, Carnival kicks off with an inaugural regatta featuring a spectacular fleet of boats and rowers dressed in colourful costumes. In the run-up to Lent a plethora of events take place throughout the city, with festivities culminating on the day of Shrove Tuesday.
People amble along the streets donning wonderfully elaborate costumes and distinctive masks, often pausing along the Grand Canal to be photographed. The city’s exclusive Caffè Florian on St Mark’s Square is a traditional gathering place for those in costume, who ostentatiously pose for passers-by in the café window.