Published: 09/02/2021 By The Abode TeamSumptuously-dressed couples promenaded around St Mark's Square in the swirling fog as Venice kicked off its celebrated carnival this weekend - without the usual crowds of tourists, absent due to the pandemic.
Italy relaxed its coronavirus restrictions on February 1st, allowing greater freedoms in most regions. Venice is among the areas now under a lower-risk "yellow" category -- but residents are still not allowed to travel outside the region.
Pre-pandemic, the carnival brought some 70 million euros to Venice's coffers, according to city hall, with more than half a million tourists flooding in. The local artisans' association has launched a discount campaign to encourage residents to take part in this year's festivities in the absence of foreign visitors. It's an opportunity for Venetians residents to reclaim, reappropriate and rediscover their city, a city where overtourism has brought with it a slew of negative effects, from pollution to rocketing rents.
Venice authorities were forced to cut short last year's carnival when the pandemic took hold. This year it is moving some of the celebrations online, with videos showing Venetians in full carnival regalia. It's a way of reinvigorating the ties which bind us to the millions of people who love Venice," said Simone Venturini, deputy mayor for tourism.