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By that time, Venice’s celebrations had become frantic and excessive, the tawdry death-throes of a city in terminal decline. A huge outdoor theatre is set up in campo San Polo to show casino hanley films, usually dubbed into Italian, occasionally with English subtitles. When 10 days ending on Shrove Tuesday. The world’s largest and most famous masked ball.

Venice’s pre-Lenten Carnevale had existed since the Middle Ages, but it came into its own in the 18th century. As the Venetian Republic slipped into terminal decline, the city’s pagan side began to emerge. Carnevale became an outlet for all that had been prohibited for centuries by the strong and sober arm of the doge. Elaborate structures would be set up in piazza San Marco as stages for acrobats, tumblers, wrestlers and other performers.

The Napoleonic invasion in 1797 brought an end to the fun and games, and Carnevale was not resuscitated until the late 1970s. When it was reintroduced, it was predominantly with money-earning in mind: the city authorities and hoteliers’ association saw the potential, and today the heavily subsidised celebrations draw revellers from all over the world. But if Carnevale fills Venetian hotels and coffers, it also gives the locals with a chance for fun and games. Tourist offices can provide full Carnevale programmes. The Redentore is the oldest continuously celebrated date on the Venetian calendar.

Every July, a pontoon bridge is built across the canal that separates the Giudecca from Venice proper, so people can make the pilgrimage to the church. Between these two grand hotels is the marble-and-glass Palazzo del Cinema, where official competition screenings take place in the Sala Grande. 50 and permits priority entry to a number of special screenings, mostly in the morning and early evening. This should be arranged before the end of June. Cloaks Visit Monica Daniel to get covered. Costume hire See Atelier Pietro Longhi.