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Masks, Venice

Mask making experience, Venice

Learn more about the history of Venice’s vibrant and elaborate masks, which have enjoyed a privileged and unique position in the city’s cultural history, as well as trying your hand at making your own. Venetians historically wore these beautiful pieces of art for much of the year, celebrating the Feast of Ascension, for the entirety of Michaelmas (October 5th to Christmas) and the two months of Carnivale. Indeed Venetians could quite feasibly spend more time in masks than out of them. The original function of the mask was not purely decorative; it was an important way for Venetians to hide their true identity and mix among the different classes, genders and social groups outside of the rigid confines of Republican society.

During your class, you’ll be able to enjoy exploring the treasure trove of incredible masks within the studio as well as learning about the significance of the various different designs before getting to have a go yourself. As you will see, masks now come in all shapes and sizes, but your guide will point out the traditional Bauta (a full mask, traditionally worn by men covering the entire face), the more modern Colombina (a smaller mask covering the eyes, nose and cheek) and of course the Dottore Peste which is designed on the historical masks that doctors would wear during times of plague to protect themselves from the disease. We highly recommend aiming to create one of the smaller pieces, to give you plenty of time to get it completed during your class (as you won’t have time to let things dry overnight).

There will be a selection of plain papier-mâché bases to choose from and with expert help always close by, you can start experimenting with your own design. You’ll be able to learn how to work with materials such as gold leaf, brocade edging, bright acrylic paints and many other tools that are available in the workshop. If you are short on ideas, there is a huge range of excellent examples from which you can draw inspiration and at the end of the course you’ll be able to take your creation home as a souvenir.

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Other experiences in Venice

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities that will introduce you to the local ways of life.

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Experience it for yourself

You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.