The use of costumes and masks in Venice has very ancient origins. Over the centuries the Venetian population has enjoyed and celebrated its carnival by flaunting many excesses.
Today many tourists organise their trip hoping to enjoy the Venetian carnival revived from 1979 onwards. During the carnival you will see a parade of historical costumes and commedia dell'arte masks. The most famous masks are the Bauta, the Medico della Peste and Pantalone. You will also find masks known throughout Italy such as Harlequin, Brighella and Pulcinella. If you want to take part in the Venice carnival, you can find out more about the dates here, which change annually.
In the Marzarie shops in the city centre you can buy Venetian costumes and masks at low prices. When the day of the Carnival approaches expect higher prices. We recommend a few shops or bottega, but don't rely on this list alone. There are many shops in Venice that boast excellent collections of traditional masks and costumes. In San Polo there is Tragicomica, a workshop founded by Gualtiero dall'Osto that is without doubt one of the most fascinating shops in Venice. Also in San Polo you'll find Arlecchino, which offers traditional Venetian costumes, marionettes and masks.
In the Frezzaria you'll find Leon d'Oro, which offers splendid masks and many handicrafts such as marionettes. Guerrino Lovato's Mondonovo workshop near Campo Santa Margherita has become a museum where you can admire the craftsman's work. In Dorsoduro Ca Macana continues to operate since the 80s, here you can buy traditional masks or attend a mask workshop. Atelier Marega also offers courses and workshops and displays Venetian masks for purchase. In Cannaregio, Sogno Veneziano not only sells its traditional costumes but also has a collection to borrow. Venice has many craft workshops producing Venetian masks and costumes, and you'll also find many lesser-known workshops in Castello.
In Venice there are many workshops hidden in the streets of the various sestieri. We will help you discover them with our map.