Rules on the masks

The ancient and very common use of the masks and costumes in Venice was covered by strict rules, even if  there were a good deal of freedom because the costume was permitted for several months of the year  this was the proof that masks and  costumes were accepted as usual way of dress.

The masks and costumes create illusions. Furthermore the use of masks and costumes put the people on the same level, rich and poor, card-sharpers, casino owners and incautious and penniless gamblers.

Venice Carnival

Costumes and Masks in Venice

The Venetian masks also allowed illicit incursions into private lives and as a consequence, confidences were given to the State Inquisitors, “veiled” behind the papier machè masks, listening to all and repeating all. As  a great consequences, though, what  the laws did do was to leave us a broad view of the moral decadence into which the city had fallen because of the mask, to which it was only an apparently discrete accomplice.

Thanks to it, in fact, libertines had a free hand in their every adventure, courtesans unrestrainedly practiced their love for money, homosexuals hid their illicit love from the world, nuns, women forced into the convent against their wills, abandoned themselves to their lovers, shy young lovers hid from the rude stares of the world, behind what was only a fragile screen, hoping to pass unobserved in the midst of it all. A vain hope, because almost everything has come down to us in the painful syntax of the Republic’s informers, very able when it came to collecting information, less able when it came to writing it down.