Just in time for the most interesting days of the year in Venice, looking for the mask is always on to-do list for all people. A bottom line to know the interesting story of Venice mask carnival is understanding the Commedia dell’Arte. This savvy is sure to give you the idea of understanding masks for carnival.

The Commedia dell’Arte began in Italy in the early 16th Century, spread throughout Europe and even created influence on Shakespeare. This is a very early form of professional theatre. It was performed in various cities in Italy, especially in Venice. Two most prominent feature of Commedia dell’Arte are servant group often represented as Zanni and this is an improvisational theatre. Since there was no fixed and specific script, all the actors could deliver their own expressions based on fundamentally given personalities.


The term Zanni comes from a Venetian name ‘Giovanni’ and it is Zanny in English. Zanni not only represents a type of mask of servant group but also is a specific protagonist as well. Zanni, servant and clown on the performance, born in the outskirts of a city and also depicted as dispossessed immigrant workers. He seemed silly but clever servant farmer and these characteristics are also connected with the Zanni as a group of servants.

The most notable feature of Zanni mask is a long nose as you could find on a picture. The longer the nose on the mask used to seem more foolish on the performance. If you would like to become the best Zanni to enjoy the Venice Carnival 2020 “Game, Love and Folly”, try to find a mask with the long-est nose!

Arlecchino is one of the most famous and highly featured servant masks from the Commedia dell’Arte and usually depicted as a very sentimental character. Like most of masks on the Commedia dell’Arte, the mask of Arlecchino only covers the upper half of face to deliver the story clearly. Usually, Arlecchino mask comes with a red lump on his head and a flat nose.

Brighella mask displays less-marked facial expression than Arlecchino but we could recognize it with greed, mean and even grumpy face. It is commonly used with greenery wooden material which matches his costume. Putting on a white oversized shirt and pants helps you to be seen more like the Brighella.

Pulcinella is a dumb character but at the same time, he is the most intelligent character awarding this situation very well. Pulcinella mask is traditionally black or brown colored with leather. The nose of the mask could be varied but typically resembles a bird’s beak.



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