Carnevale Ambrosiano 2021
Venezia sul Naviglio - Venice on Naviglio
Legend says that it was Sant’ Aembrous, or Saint Ambrose, patron saint of Milan, who was out of town and asked the city to postpone the conclusion of its carnival for four days until his return.
The truth is that the Carnival of Saint Ambrose is celebrated from the Tuesday to the Saturday after the traditional, more famous one because it is based on the Ambrosian or Milanese Rite, which differs from the Roman rite that the other carnivals are based on.
This year in Plaza del Duomo, despite the Covid restrictions, children and families were able to experience joy again, and the Ambrosian Carnival was able to summon the spirit of pre-Covid times.
My friend Clara wrote me the evening before, after I had already resigned myself to another Carnival going by without me being able to photograph the masks, gondolas and canals I love. We agreed to meet at 3.30 Saturday afternoon at the ” Vicolo dei Lavandai ” in Naviglio district. When I got there, the canal and the pubs all along it were packed with people, just like in the “good old days”, pre-Covid. I thought a photo shoot was going to be impossible, because the gray and dim daylight was poor enough to extinguish even the most inspired creative urges.
My apprehension however, disappeared very quickly.
A parade of masks appeared and moved through the Naviglio with noble distinction,silencing the people present there in a state of respectful admiration. Carnevale ambrosiano Venezia Naviglio
The banal chattering of the crowds stopped, while the people seated at the pubs contemplated these colorful, costumed, and masked figures moving slowly past them as if part of a wonderful dream.
In my vision as a photographer, and with my eye for composition, I felt that at that moment the scenery of the canals of Milan, the city of grays and muted colors reflected on the Naviglio, had been completed by this missing element that was highlighting the beauty of each of its details. And the magic, beauty, and meaning of the Venetian masks was reinforced by their presence in this strange setting. Carnevale ambrosiano Venezia Naviglio
And suddenly, almost as if these Venetian visitors had created a symbiosis with the new space in which they had landed, the gondolas and Simone Lunghi, the “Angel of the Naviglio”, in the guise of Saint Ambrose, appeared on the waters of the Milan canals. It turns out that the Canottieri San Cristoforo, the San Cristoforo rowers club,
had organized a socially-distanced costume parade on gondolas along the Naviglio Grande and in the Dársena.
And so in this manner, the second Carnival season of the Covid era came and went in Milan. Last year I did not even go to Venice, because the Carnival was called off just as I was getting ready to travel there. But this year, Venice came to Milan, to lift our spirits and graciously allow me to satisfy the profound passion I have had for years– that of portraying the unique beauty of the “La Serenissima” Carnival.
Pablo Munini, Milan 21th February 2021
Carnevale ambrosiano Venezia Naviglio
Video on Pablo Munini Youtube channel