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How to enjoy Venice Carnival in historical costumes at a lower price point

On a previous Venice Carnival blog I have talked through the differences of the different Venetian Masked Balls at Carnival. However they can be out of some peoples budget and so in this blog I am going to concentrate on some of the other events happening at Venice Carnival which still allow you to throw yourself into the spirit of Carnival wearing historical costumes, but at a lower price point.

Cotillion – This is a fun afternoon with cakes and sweets in the magnificent historical setting of the Hotel Danieli near the Foyer. This is a truly beautiful area to hold this event. The master of dance will teach guests the basic steps of the ‘Cotillion’ involving all in the mysteries of this graceful and ceremonious dance. The cotillion (surprise dance) is a French dance dating back to the 1700’s. The lady had a starring role and her job was to entice her desired partner so he would invite her to the dance itself. The Cotillion dance was the most suitable for animating major parties during the years of the Napoleonic Empire. You will also be able to dance minuets and quadrilles. You will of course need to wear historical costumes.

Minuetto – Of all the non-Masked Ball events this is the popular event where you will get to dance traditional dances the most. The Minuetto dinner dance is set in the ballroom at the Hotel Danieli and you will need to wear historical costume. It is worth noting that this is not a historical room, but the entertainment and staff are all dressed in Carnival theme to carry the atmosphere.  The Minuetto originated in France and was used in the royal court of King Louis XIV. It was start off with a reverence and was followed by a series of small sliding steps to the right, to the left, forward, and backward forming an *, the letter S or Z.

A dance master and baroque sextet orchestra will teach you traditional minuettes both during dinner between courses and afterwards.

Grand Canal Gondola Promenade to dinner in historical costume – An enchanting 30 minute gondola ride in historical costume will take you to one of the best Venetian restaurants, the Antico Pignolo, hidden in a little alley serving traditional Venetian dishes. The Antico Pignolo has a great reputation in its own right and to be dining in costume there with only @ 50 people is a very exclusive evening. There will be 4 people per Gondola and if it is raining the gondola journey is cancelled, but the dinner still goes ahead.

Hot Chocolate at Café Lavena in St Mark’s Square, Venice – With only @ 50 people attending this personal event where you can take a hot chocolate with pastry sweets in an elegant café in St Mark’s Square it is quite intimate. You will be entertained by artists such as Belly Dancers as you sit in your historical costume. There are 2 floors at the Café and you will see people pressed up against the window looking in at you. You will be the stars!

Classical concert at the Scuola Grande S Giovanni Evangelista – This concert with cocktails takes place in the superb Scuola Grande S Giovanni Evangelista. Originally founded in 1261 it is the second oldest “scuola”. This is a lovely event in beautiful surroundings with a performance by a symphonic orchestra followed by a cocktail and tour of the Scuola. Historical costume is not required for this, though often people do wear it.

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