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Volto Masks

Volto Venetian MaskShort History

The literal translation of the Italian word "volto" is "countenance" and in ancient times it was also known as a "citizen mask", because it was worn by common people during all the holidays such as Saint Marco's day, Sensa feast day etc.

The "volto" or "larva" mask was originally always a white mask, always worn with a three cornered hat and in fact, attached to the hat.  The term "larva" refers to "ghosts" and these white masks under the hat must have truly seemed ghostly on a moon lit night in Venice at a time when there was only dim street lighting.  This mask was worn by both men and women and the original masks did not cover the entire face, but allowed the wearer to eat, drink and talk freely.

Today's volto masks have evolved a little and now the volto usually refers to a full face mask, which allows the artist to fully decorate the mask.  These masks are worn to great effect with elaborate costumes during the Venetian Carnival (Carnevale) and can also be worn as a masquerade mask to a masked ball or masked event.  In addition, they are very popular as wall decorations and if you do buy a Venetian Mask for an event, you can retain the memory of this occasion by using the mask as a decoration in your residence.

Click here for a full history on Venetian masks.
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