When Carnival first began it was celebrated from December 26 and reached its climax the day before Ash Wednesday, also known as "Mardi Gras". During the period of Carnival it seems that every excess was permitted and the fact that everyone wore masks seemed to abolish all social division. All the campi were thronged with people intent on partying and carousing, singing, dancing and playing games. The most common costume (the baùtta) was composed of a black silk hood, a lace cape, a voluminous cloak (the tabarro), and a three-cornered hat and a white mask that completely covered the wearer's face. This allowed revelers to go around the city incognito. It was useful to go to casini, places where you could play games of chance.
Since 1980 the celebration of Carnival in Venice has gained popularity. People come from the world over to attend private and public masked balls and masked revelers of all ages invade the campi where music and dancing continues nearly day and night. Theatrical performances and an array of ancient games are organized for the amusement of Venetians and visitors alike
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