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Columbine swoops over Saint Mark's Square to kick off Carnival in Venice

...the most famous event of the carnival was the "Flight of the Angel" or "Flight of the Turkish" or even "Flight of Columbine". An acrobat from a boat went along the ropes until the belfry of the St. Mark's Bell Tower, then descended on the Loggia Foscari of Doge's Palace where he offered a floral tribute to the Doge of Venice in person. Actually this event takes place in total safety and with a reduced route. It runs at noon the first Sunday of Carnival and marks the official opening of the event. During the two weekends of Venice Carnival arrive more than 100,000 visitors.

-- From the Inn Venice city guide

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