Venetian Masks



Pantalone: one of the most important Venice Masks


Pantalone is one of the most famous characters of the Commedia dell'arte. He represents the typical Venetian Merchant of the XVI° century.

The name seems to derive from the action of "planting the Lion's flag" into a grove when Venetian militaries won a battle: pianta–Leone panta–Leone. Others think that the name "Pantaleone" comes from a Greek clown mentioned in the works of Atheneus. Known also as Magnifico, Pantaleone has snug tights, a black hooked-nose mask, a little beard and a bag to which he hangs a knife (called "Pisoltese") used by Venetian Merchants.

As for his character, he is a heartbreaker who is always on the lookout for new prey such as courtesans, servants and young ladies. 


Gnaga is another typical Venetian Mask.

It is generally used by a man disguised as a woman; the mask covers the eyes and nose in order to appear more feminine. During the Serenissima it was used especially by homosexuals who went around Venice's streets with a very feminine look.



The Venetian mask of Bauta


Bauta is a completely white mask. A black cloak is very often worn with the mask.

It is used both by men and women. Married women were forced to use it when they went to the theatre, but it wasn't required for young females. This was because its shape allows the face to be completely covered.

Bauta was mostly used in order to keep a secret identity during the Carnival.


Moreta is a feminine mask. It was originally French, but the Venetians started to use it because of its elegance and polish. It was made of black and white velvet with veils of tulle on its side.

Find more information and details about the Venetian masks by visiting our page dedicated to the Italian Comedy.

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