Postcards from Prato

The Charger Bulletin

A check off my bucket list 


I am a few weeks into classes now and it’s starting to finally feel like school and not a vacation.

Jessica in one of her new Carnevale masks (Photo by Jessica Sullivan / Charger Bulletin Photo)
Jessica in one of her new Carnevale masks (Photo by Jessica Sullivan / Charger Bulletin Photo)

We have had more school days here than back in Connecticut and we even started later. It’s not as cold here as it is back on campus, but it is cold and always raining. Hopefully it will get warmer soon.

This past weekend I went to Venice for Carnival. I have a bucket list that I take very seriously and ever since I learned about Carnival in my middle school Italian class, I’ve had it on my bucket list to do.
To get there, my friends and I had to take a train from Prato to Florence and then a three-hour bus ride and then a boat to get to Venice. The city is breathtaking and so are the people there. They are dressed in intricate costumes and masks. Kids are all running around in costumes and throwing confetti.

The first thing we did was see a glass blowing demonstration from Murano Glass Company. I learned that glassmakers in the 14th century were the only people other than nobility who were allowed to carry swords and had immunity from prosecution. Also, their daughters were allowed to marry into nobility. We got to watch an artist make a pitcher and a horse statue, which Murano is famous for. It was crazy the detail this tiny glass horse had and how he made it in only a few minutes.

The next thing we did was buy masks. I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted so I bought three. Oops—but they were all so pretty!

Carnival, or, like it’s called here in Italy, Carnevale, started in 1162 after a Venetian win over Ulrico and it coincided with Lent. They would party every year the 40 days before the start of Lent. There are so many different kinds of masks. I bought a Columbina mask, which means it only covers half of the face and is usually covered with silver, gold, feathers and can be held to the face with ribbon or on a stick. I also bought a Medico Della Peste mask, which translates to “The Plague Doctor.”

I also rode in a gondola, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was so much fun and so pretty. We went under the Bridge of Sighs. It’s called that because it was once the bridge that connected to the prison, so people said it was where prisoners took their last free breath. The man who was steering our boat told us he was third generation and it was so cool listening to him point out the different spots in Venice and how the water level can rise.

I had a really great in Venice and I’m looking forward to seeing another city.

Tanti saluti da,
Jess Sullivan