The small masked secrets of Italy

AEGEE is one of the best ways to see the most interesting places in Europe. This time, it did not let us down. The event “Who’s behind the mask” was dedicated to one of the best known carnivals in Europe. The timing is not the best for travel – cold and wintry February, but this did not stop our organisers from introducing the Venice Carnival to participants from more than nine antennae.

For me as a participant, this event was connected with a bunch of little secrets that were revealed for me throughout the five days. I am here to unmask them all. So, let the secrets be unmasked!

One would think that the Venice carnival would be presented by AEGEE-Venezia, but not this time. AEGEE-Treviso, a small antenna not far from Venice, took the responsibility and showed not one, not two, but THREE cities to participants in just four days! Treviso – Venice – Treviso – Padova – Treviso – Venice – Treviso. If you did not think it was possible to travel that much and still have time, you were wrong.

Moreover, I learned not to judge an antenna by its size. Apparently, despite not being as member-populated as some other antennae, they are organising more than two international events this year. And that is all before the annual Summer University. For Padova, which will be hosting the Summer University for a couple of days, this was a small warm-up. Good job, guys! The small city tour was the perfect way to show just what makes this little town a jewel. The café without doors, park without grass, and cathedral without a saint was just the warm up. Finding the mystery art of Kenny Random in the street without knowing who or what he is? That was the true challenge. Who would have thought that he signs some of his works?!

Another secret that ended up influencing the whole event was the arrival of the huge Russian team. It turns out that this was initially an exchange between some Italian antennae and St.Petersburg. We were just the guests invited to a party. Guess what this meant for European night? Yup, you got it! Great choice of all the types of food you can think and dream of from Russia!


I guess it is time to talk about the carnival itself. That is the reason most of us went there to begin with. The first shock was all the different and at times bizarre costumes of the people. It is true, you are to dress up and feel the carnival spirit. Everyone who is anyone was there – from queens to servants, from bats to Darth Vaders. The traditional venetian masks were of course gorgeous. It took our team an eternity to get to the main square just because we needed to take pictures with ALL the beautiful masks that walked by. No worries though, if the mask did not pose to take a picture with the special you, you could always take a reflection picture.

Many things have been written about Venice and all its beauties. I am not going to try to surpass any of them. That is why my advice to you is just go there and see it all by yourself.

Written by Olga Volovyk, AEGEE-Kyiv

Thank you for the photos to Borjan W. Zafirovski, Wang Yixing, Fabrizio Sartor and Alicia Cooper.