Carnival represents a sort of "time out of time" in which fortunes are reversed: the poor become rich, the powerless become powerful. Social customs are overturned; women aggressively pursue men, for example. During the time of Carnevale, it's important to remain anonymous, so when "real time" returns, it returns to exactly the same place.
Enjoy our pictures of the carnival masks of Venice. You'll see masks in production, masks for sale, and masks on display.
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