Masks and mystery as thousands of brightly dressed revellers descend on Venice ...

Masks and mystery as thousands of brightly dressed revellers descend on Venice to celebrate the start of Lent

By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline

Published: 00:54 GMT, 2 March 2019 | Updated: 01:40 GMT, 2 March 2019

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Thousands of people flocked to the streets of Venice for the annual carnival to witness the stunning masks and elaborate costumes to mark the beginning of Lent.

The famous festival which dates back to the Middle Ages sees revellers donning traditional masks as well as showing off more modern interpretations on the costumes. 

Some were competing to win prizes for the best dressed in the famous St Mark's Square, but contestants could be found across the city posing in different locations.

The carnival takes place across Venice between February 16 and March 5.

A glorious headdress and painted mask evoke the presence of a Geisha standing before the famous Bridge of Sighs as part of the carnival in Venice on Friday

A glorious headdress and painted mask evoke the presence of a Geisha standing before the famous Bridge of Sighs as part of the carnival in Venice on Friday

A lady dressed up in the colours of Autumn, with butterflies and red leaves around her, blows a kiss to the hundreds of spectators who lined the streets

A lady dressed up in the colours of Autumn, with butterflies and red leaves around her, blows a kiss to the hundreds of spectators who lined the streets

Woof woof: White and red was the theme brought by these two channelled through the white coats of their pups who they brought along for the ride

Woof woof: White and red was the theme brought by these two channelled through the white coats of their pups who they brought along for the ride

Some of the fancy dressers decided to put a  modern twist on the traditional garb, like this trio who wore industrial-era goggles and had clocks and cogs sewn into their tophats

Some of the fancy dressers decided to put a  modern twist on the traditional garb, like this trio who wore industrial-era goggles and had clocks and cogs sewn into their tophats

This regal-looking couple wore white masks with red painted lips and jesters crowns in gold and blue with jewels sewn into the lining, as they looked to compete for the best dressed at the carnival on Friday

This regal-looking couple wore white masks with red painted lips and jesters crowns in gold and blue with jewels sewn into the lining, as they looked to compete for the best dressed at the carnival on Friday

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