Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, bringing an end to Carnival celebrations, including Venice's, noted as one of the most colorful and spectacular in Europe. It's also the only one that starts with a huge parade of boats in the city's Grand Canal.
That's followed up by a Sunday parade of special carnival boats, seen in the headline picture above.
Carnival in Venice is both one of the oldest and newest; it was revived in 1980 as a huge tourism attraction; it had been banned when Venice was under Austrian rule in the 18th and 19th centuries. But its origins date back to 1162, with a spontaneous celebration in St. Mark's Square of a military victory.
Perhaps its most famous feature is the elaborate masks that are works of art today; originally, their purpose was to hide identity during raucous celebrations, allowing rich and poor to mix...and mischief.