How About that Long “Beaky” Nose?

After the parade of colorful masks of The Story of Venice Carnevale, a curiosity about the meaning of these peculiar masks that we always see in Venice.

History

The use of these rudimentary protective masks started back in the XIV century, when the doctors, during the epidemics, began to wear particular beak-shaped masks. The idea of a complete garment was proposed in 1619 by a French physician.

The mask was a sort of respirator: it had two openings for the eyes covered by lenses, two holes for the nose and a large curved beak, inside which were contained several fragrant substances, like lavender, mirh, amber, leaves of mint, camphor, cloves, garlic and, almost always, soaked sponges of vinegar.

The aim of the mask was to keep away the bad smells, at the time considered, the cause of the epidemics, preserving who wore it, from infections. As an accessory, there was also a special cane, which doctors used to examine patients without touching them, to keep people away and to take the clothes off plague victims.

A Break from the Crowd

After meddling with all those feathers, colors, costumes, dances, and music, where to go for a moment of tranquillity with an espresso or an afternoon tea?

The lobby of the Hotel Danieli provides much sought after tranquillity and calm. The room is really beautiful and it is worth a visit. Prices are of course a little higher than a regular caffe, but not as steep as the Caffè Florian.

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