Venice, Italy, February 1, 2008—A masked man walks through St. Mark's Square during Carnival.
In Venice, Carnival dates back to at least A.D.1268, when masqueraders were banned from playing a game called eggs. The government document still exists today, according to the city's official Carnival Web site.
Over the years, the island city has tried to enforce various restrictions on the annual celebration. A 1339 law banned nighttime wandering by masked revelers. And a 1603 law calling for the restoration of morality in convents banned masqueraders from entering nuns' parlors, the site says.
The Venice Carnival's theme this year is "Sensation—Six Senses for Six Neighborhoods."