- "Welcome, my friends, to the grandest social event of the season! At peace or at war, in times of prosperity or paucity, Venezia will always have Carnevale!"
- ―Doge Marco Barbarigo speaking at his private party during Carnevale in 1486.[src]
Carnevale (Carnival in English) is a Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent).
The term Carnival (Carnevale in Italian) is traditionally used in areas with a large Catholic presence. In historically Lutheran countries, the celebration is known as Fastelavn, and in areas with a high concentration of Anglicans and Methodists, pre-Lenten celebrations, along with penitential observances, occur on Shrove Tuesday. In Slavic Eastern Orthodox nations, the celebration is known as Maslenitsa and is celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. Carnival celebrations, are usually referred to as Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday" in French) in the United States of America.
Carnevale of Venice is an annual event held in Venice that was known for its extravagant costumes and decorated masks. Believed to have started in 1162, it became an official tradition during the Renaissance.
In the Italian Renaissance, Civilians and noblemen celebrated the festival by playing games and competitions, dancing, and watching performers in the streets or city squares. The environment was vibrant and people were garbed in colorful clothing and masks. The streets were filled with banners and processions of people and fireworks decorated the sky.
It was during the Carnevale of 1486 that the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze was able to infiltrate the party held by his target, Venetian Doge Marco Barbarigo, and kill the man with his Hidden Gun.
- Even after the events of Carnevale, the citizens would continue to celebrate it in the Dorsoduro district for the remainder of Assassin's Creed II, albeit without fireworks.
- Ezio could not change outfits or capes during Carnevale.
- Carnevale was featured as a background to the events depicted in the theatrical trailer for Assassin's Creed II, although the events never happened in the game.
- During the E3 demo of Assassin's Creed II, bonfires were held in Carnevale, which allowed Ezio to use Leonardo da Vinci's Flying Machine.
- Carnevale was also depicted in the fourth Cristina memory in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
- In the 21st century, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have the biggest Carnival celebration in the world, followed jointly by Barranquilla, Colombia and the Notting Hill Carnival in London (this later, despite its name, it is not part of the global Carnival season preceding Lent).