Learning about mask decorating in a mask making workshop in Venice
It’s practically impossible for kids not to be engaged in the Venice tourist experience given the allure of the boats and maze of alleys, steps, and bridges. Love it or hate it, Venice is unique and commands attention.
Three days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Venice, particularly during busy periods when it’s tough to escape the crowds.
We are big fans of integrating a few structured, special activities into sightseeing itineraries at Ciao Bambino. A walking tour with a family-focused guide can do the trick (stay tuned for my report on our excellent Context Travel tour in Venice). In addition, an activity where kids can meet local artisans and/or have a hands-on experience with a local tradition can easily become a trip highlight.
In Venice, mask wearing is deeply rooted in local history and a symbol of the city. It took some asking around, but I found a mask shop who offers a mask decorating class for children called Ca’ Macana in the Dorsoduro section of the city.
The class takes place in their workshop where they produce the masks they make for their retail sales. The owner, Mario, recently realized that families would enjoy this activity and has started offering kid-friendly two-hour courses.
We did this today and my nine-year-old Devon loved it!
Engaging history lesson kicks off the class
Ca’ Macana Mask Making Class for Families
The class starts with a brief history lesson where the instructor explains how masks are made and the role they played in Venetian history. We enjoyed a private session, as did the family next to us; although pricing goes down the more people that are part of a single class.
In turns out that painted masks have only been used for the past 30 years. Venetians throughout history wore plain white masks in an effort to equalize themselves and remain anonymous in their activities. Ok, so learning this at the start of a mask decorating class is a historical buzz kill, but the reality is that painted masks are all over the city now and part of Carnival, so it’s easy to feel like the act of paining masks is relevant. Regardless, it’s fun!
You are able to pick two masks to paint from a wide array of shapes and sizes. Afterwards, you choose from a series of techniques for the base, but otherwise, the design is based on pure imagination.
I learned that I must keep my day job. Devon learned Venetian history in a kid-friendly and memorable way.
Proud artist with his final creation
Pricing for a party of 2 people starts at 120€ per person per session. Per person pricing is reduced as class sizes grow. We recommend this activity for ages 6 and up.
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Ciao Bambino recommended Venice/Veneto family hotels