Fritelle, Hot Chocolate and Costumes – Welcome to Carnival in Venice


Carnival in Venice. I’m here! I still have no exact knowledge of the time. Right now, I only know that it’s night because it’s dark outside. Three plane rides later and crossing at least five time zones on little sleep, somehow I still managed to wake up early enough to get out and about as the kids were going to school this morning.

“Get to St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge early in the morning. That’s when many of the costumed Carnevale-goers will be out for photos.” That’s what a few people told me and what I did. Actually, because the clock on the TV in my apartment is one-hour fast, I arrived in the square earlier than planned, around 7:30am. I and a group of maybe 20 others had the costumed posers and Saint Mark’s square all to ourselves. Well almost, there were hundreds of pigeons to annoy keep us company.






After some photos, I needed to warm up. My fingers were blue. Sometimes my legs felt as though they were frozen, too, and wouldn’t move. It’s not snowing, but the wind is blowing through Venice’s campos faster than those pigeons will swarm on the smallest dropped crumb.

Breakfast was a cioccolata calda at Il Café on Campo Francesco Morosini. Yes, that same hot chocolate that inspired this Italian hot chocolate recipe. Later some fritelle from Pasticceria Ballarin. Fritelle seemed to be the breakfast of choice for everyone. I’ve found 3 varieties. The traditional Fritella Veneziana with raisins and pine nuts and rolled in granulated sugar. There are also fritelle alla crema (with pastry cream) and fritelle alla zabaglione (with Sabayon). If the sugar high from the hot chocolate wasn’t enough, the fritelle (one traditional and one with crema) certainly gave me the energy to brave the cold again. My preference, so far, is the one filled with pastry cream. I’ll do more testing tomorrow, and am hoping to find more varieties, say a chocolate pastry cream filled one.



Later in the day, I went back to Saint Mark’s. This time the piazza had many more photographers, ranging in expertise from those using their phones to professional photographers with foot-long lenses. The professionals even went so far as to give posing commands to those in costume. It was very much like some crazy photo shoot. With each new costume that arrived on the stage that was St. Mark’s Square, a group of camera-clad fools people (me included) swarmed around them and started clicking. Then another new costume would appear and the group with cameras would race from one to the next. George Clooney might even go unnoticed by papparzzi in favor of an even more extravagent costume.

I had to laugh, and agree, when I heard one Italian walking through the square, call it pazzesco (crazy). In any case, after 300 hundred photos (yes, it’s only my first day here), I’m pretty happy with all of the photos I have. Fried treats, thick hot chocolate and some awesome photos, yep, quite a nice welcome to Carnevale a Venezia!

I’ve shared a few of my favorite photos with you today. At the end of Carnevale, I’ll post a slideshow with all of them.









  1. Tuula
    March 2nd

    This is one of my favorite posts! I feel like I’m right there with you…and the photos are just too beautiful – thank you so much for sharing this day with us.

  2. Krista
    March 2nd

    FANTASTIC photos! How fun to see those gorgeous costumes. You’re so brave heading out there in the frigid temperatures, and I’m glad you had such deliciousness to warm you up. :-) I’d have to go for the cream-filled ones too. :-)

  3. Paula
    March 2nd

    I agree! Marvelous photos … know how drool over costumes …. the “orange & black” set in the middle is my favorite so far, but they’re all gorgeous.
    I think it’s interesting that “the costumed” ones go out in the morning for photos. I would have expected them to be the ones partying all night (maybe they just never went to bed, so that’s why they’re out early). Can’t wait to see night-time photos, too!!

  4. Paula
    March 2nd

    prior comment should read … “you know how I drool over costumes”

  5. Esme
    March 2nd

    Great photographs. This has always been one of my dreams to attend Carnivale in Venice. I look forward to your posts.

  6. Wow, I don’t know what I love more, the food or the masks? Absolutely fabulous!!!

  7. ItalianNotes
    March 2nd

    Those fritelle look absolutely irresistible. Almost feel sorry for the masked people with their sealed lips.

  8. Zita
    March 3rd

    Great photos. Looking forward to seeing all of them! It can be exciting for those people wearing these carnival costumes to take so many photos of them. :)

  9. Barbara
    March 3rd

    Wow!!! I am so jealous! I have always wanted to go to Carnevale in Venice. In fact, we almost went this year – it had been a strong possibility! But…at least I can relive it from your pictures! Are you planning on going in costume at night? I can’t wait to hear all about your experiences!!! And good to know that photo ops are everywhere! What fun!

  10. Susan
    March 4th

    Really lovely! Thanks for taking us there!

  11. Jozee
    March 5th

    This post is wonderful The pictures are fantastic and I wish I was there enjoying the Fritelle and hot chocolate.

  12. Excellent photos! I can’t believe that you’re actually there for carnevale! Of course, I’m there with you since I fitted snug in that excess luggage of yours ;)
    Have a fabulous time!

  13. Kathy
    March 8th

    Thank you everyone for all the great comments and compliments. I’ll have a slide show of all the amazing photos I’ve taken. I had my last two frittelle this morning, and I’m ready for my Lenten fast……however I have more eating to do as I travel on in Italy.
    Esme – Even though the weather is unpredictable and not sunny and warm, I would HIGHLY recommend coming to Venice for Carnival at least once.

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