Homemade outfits, special deals at Venice carnival

Mon Feb 8, 2010 1:23pm EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

VENICE, Italy (Reuters Life!) - Using plastic piping from a furniture store, and sandals and garments bought on Ebay, Briton Hayden Nash made her own Roman female warrior costume for this year's Venice carnival.

Rather than buy an outfit that can cost 1,000 euros ($1,360), Nash like other revelers decided to make her own, complete with a Union Jack flag on her shield, for the centuries-old celebration that can easily turn very expensive for credit-crunched partygoers.

"Eating and drinking and buying stuff here, particularly near the piazza is really crazy. We're living in a rented apartment, going out to the supermarket mainly and cooking at home," she said, posing in San Marco square with friends.

"Personally, I spent so much money on everything else that I'm living quite frugally for the week to get by."

The Carnevale di Venezia is one of the world's most renowned festivals, with 10 days of partying in the Italian canal city, but the pinch of the economic crisis is being felt this year.

Hotels still have rooms available and others are offering promotional deals, at times cutting prices by 15-20 percent to attract business.

The budget for the carnival, which runs until February 16, has been cut by 40 percent to 1 million euros, and organizers Venezia Marketing & Eventi have looked for sponsors.

"We have organized the 2010 carnival keeping in mind the national and international economic crisis and we wanted to give a message of quality and excellence with our artistic programme but to deliver it in a sober style," said head Piero Rosa Salva.   Continued...

<p>A masked reveller looks on during a cocktail party at the Danieli hotel during the Venetian Carnival in Venice February 6, 2010. REUTERS/Max Rossi</p>