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Masquerading at carnivale

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(CNN) -- This month, Art of Life is in Venice for Italy's centuries-old carnival taking in the street parades, masquerade balls and private parties at opulent palazzi -- all part of the lengthy celebrations.

Carnivale and religion

It's a carnival that dates back to the 12th century and reached its height in the 18th century when extravagant festivities in this wealthy part of Europe stretched over a period of six months. Art of Life looks at the religious significance of "carnivale," the cultural and theatrical traditions and what it means for Venetians to take part. (Watch the history of carnivale Video)

Music and arts

One of Europe's most famous theatres, Teatro La Fenice has twice burned down and been rebuilt. For the first time in 25 years, this iconic home of Italian opera plays a special role in this year's carnival. (Watch La Fenice take center stage Video)

Behind the mask

While most of the festivities take place in the streets and the squares, Art of Life has been invited to some pretty amazing palazzi for the masquerade balls. (Watch the best of the carnival's balls)

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Art of Life looks at the religious significance of "carnivale" and what it means for Venetians to take part.

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