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2013 Venice Carnival to Kick Off January 26th

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/13 -- Ever dreamt of attending a massive Mardi Gras parade? Well, you don't have to fly all the way to New Orleans to enjoy a slice of Mardi Gras spirit whilst on holiday. Dating back to the 11th century, Venice Carnival is also traditionally held on Shrove Tuesday, with a fortnight of glittering events leading up to the carnival itself.

In 2013, Venice Carnival lands on January 26th and lasts until February 12th, so there's still time to throw yourself into finding cheaper flights from Monarch and an available hotel room. Whilst Italy as a whole recognises carnival season, with most towns and cities celebrating carnival in one way or another, picturesque Venice is really at the heart of the revelry. St Mark's Square becomes a circus of elaborate costumes, and the entire canal-threaded city erupts with music, dancing and late night celebrations.

The sparkling schedule includes masquerade balls, live music and - most importantly - costumes. It ultimately culminates in a masked parade, in which revellers don cloaks and theatrical masks to cavort around the beautiful streets, squares and canals.

The emphasis on carnival couture adds a playful sense of fun to proceedings, and Venice is brimming with cosy boutiques and grand shops with walls lined floor-to-ceiling with intricate handmade carnival masks. Popular and traditional designs include the jewel-coloured harlequins, iconic long-nosed plague doctors and courtesans.

Of course, you don't have to splash out on expensive drapery to feel included in the carnival spirit. The open-air festival welcomes all, and plenty of ateliers dotted around the city supply revellers with rental costumes, cloaks, masks and other carnival accessories. Many operate by appointment only, so it's worth investigating costume options as soon as your flights to Venice have been booked.

Venice has plenty to offer besides carnival fun all year round, however: it's a truly historic city packed with all the great culture, coffee and culinary delights you'd expect to find in any Italian city, as well as some of the most iconic architecture in Europe.

To enjoy Venice to the full, travel with Monarch. Monarch's scheduled flights to Venice depart from Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick airports, with prices starting at just GBP 35 per person. For more information on flights to Venice and other top destinations, visit http://www.monarch.co.uk/italy/venice-and-venetian-riviera/flights.

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