What better time to visit Venice now that masked carnival goers are transforming this already amazing place. In the weeks leading up to Lent, masked balls and contests are held in the city, whose warren-like network of medieval streets are situated on 117 islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic sea.

Carnival-goers on the streets of Venice (age fotostock/Robert Harding)

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Carnival reveller in red cape and gold mask peering from columns in St. Mark’s Square (Lee Frost/Robert Harding)

Carnival model in red cape and gold mask peering from columns in St. Mark's Square, Venice, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Veneto, Italy, Europe

Gondolas at sunrise (Neil Emmerson/Robert Harding)

Sunrise, Venice, Italy (Grainy)

Small dog in carnival costume (Bruno Morandi/Robert Harding)

Small dog in carnival costume, Venice Carnival, Venice, Veneto, Italy

Masked revellers walk through Venice’s historical buildings at carnival time (Neil Emmerson/Robert Harding)

Venice Carnival, Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe

Aerial view of tables and chairs in a plaza (Neil Emmerson/Robert Harding)

Tables, Venice, Veneto, Italy

Doge palace, Saint Mark’s square (Cubo Images/Robert Harding)

Particular, Doge palace, San Marco square, Venice, Veneto, Italy

A canal with the typical colourful houses, Burano (age fotostock/Robert Harding)

Laguna (lagoon) di Venezia, Burano, A canal with the typical colourful houses, Venice, Italy

A couple in matching carnival costumes (Simon Harris/Robert Harding)

Carnival costumes, Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe

View of Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore from Basilica San Marco from Campanile (Frank Fell/Robert Harding)

View of Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore from Basilica San Marco from Campanile, Venice, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Veneto, Italy, Europe

Gondolas in evening light (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding)

Gondolas, Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe

Gondoliers’ straw hats (James Emmerson/Robert Harding)

Gondoliers straw hats, Venice, Italy, Europe

See more images of Venice here

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