′Angel′ flies in Venice | DW Travel | DW | 05.02.2018
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'Angel' flies in Venice

Twenty thousand revellers, wearing masks and colourful period costumes, packed into St Mark's Square on Sunday for the "flight of the angel" marking the traditional opening of the Carnival of Venice.

Tourists and Venetians alike, the spectators looked on as 19-year old student Elisa Constantini leapt from the famous St Mark's Campanile bell tower, attached to a wire 80 metres (265 feet) above the ground. It was accompanied by a recording of "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert, sung by Luciano Pavarotti and the recently deceased Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan. 

The "angel" threw confetti at the crowd below, in a highlight of  one of the world's most celebrated carnivals. "It's like we're going back in time," enthused Susie, from Verona in northern Italy, who had come to watch the spectacle. Costantini wore a black-and-white dress with a red blouse underneath. The white, blue and red wings were intended as a symbol for peace, she told Venezia Today.

But modern-day concerns were evident in the high security put on for the event. "It's normal, these measures," said Chinese tourist Xu Hong. "You have to have them. That doesn't take away from the beauty, the magic of this event".

The world famous Venice carnival runs under the motto of "Circus" and will end on February 13. It is thought to have started in 1162 after a military victory. Abandoned for decades, it was revived in 1980.

is/ks (afp,dpa)

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