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The Great Masquerade: Carnevale di Venezia

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At dawn they emerge from the shadows, posing and primping against historic backdrops like mysterious apparitions. Meticulously costumed, they could be stars of a lavish period drama or Vegas production. Instead, they're players in a celebration that draws some 3 million annual visitors to Venice, including a throng of photographers eager to document the visual feast. In the weeks before Lent's austerity, Venice's Carnival blurs reality and fantasy with two weeks of escape and new identities.
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I fell in love with Venice at Burano. All right, truly I fell in love the moment we stepped out of the train station and saw the vacation postcard in 3D. Funny to immediately adore a city I had always considered too cliché to want to visit....
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Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/99, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy
Seeing our jaws drop as we entered Ca’ Sagredo's posh lobby, a concierge tried to put any illusions to rest. “There's only one palace in Venice and that's the Palazzo Ducale,” he alleged. We'd admired the Venetian flair of the pale pink Doge's...