At this time of year in Italy, you can’t turn the corner in any town or city without some sign of the pre-Lenten period called Carnevale – from seasonal treats in bakeries (chiacchiere, tortelli, krapfen, etc.), to heaps of confetti (coriandoli) tossed in the streets, to local parades with people in costumes and masks (maschere). But nobody does Carnevale like Venice. In the four or five days before Ash Wednesday, the narrow alleys and canals are teeming with people from all over the world who come to party, to strut in outlandish costumes, and to gawk. Count me among the latter group (although I did wear a mask the first time I was there for Carnevale). Yes, it’s crowded, but you’ve got to go at least once in your life to experience to elaborate costumes, the parades, the concerts, the food, the fireworks – the just plain FUN feeling that permeates the city at this time. After all, tradition dictates that when Ash Wednesday starts, the carefree, raucous behavior must come to a halt for the 40 days of solemnity and reflection before Easter. Carpe Diem! If you’re looking for a recipe for those crispy chiacchiere, click here for a post a wrote I last year featuring a recipe for the sweet fried dough so popular this time of year, courtesy of my friend Titty. The rest of the post is sheer eye candy from photos I took in Venice last year at Carnevale.