There are records of Venetian masks being worn in the city of Venice dating back to Medieval times, in the 12th and 13th centuries. By the 17th century, however, the wearing of masks for everyday use came to be restricted by the Catholic Church, except for the weeklong celebration of Carnival. This consists of a series of parades, festivals, and dancing prior to the start of the season of Lent, with its 40 days of abstinence.
The masks are generally ornate, bright in colour, and have gold or silver decorations. Some are full-face masks and others only eye masks. And were worn to disguise the wearer from any number of illicit activities: gambling, dancing even political assignation.
Each mask carries with it various theories as to its development and each has its own style.
The Bauta mask likely developed from the tradition of a "bogeyman" story that adults told to children. The Bauta mask is white and covers the entire face. The complete costume of Bauta includes a black cape or veil, a black cloak or mantle, and a three-cornered hat. Both men and women
In the beginning, only women wore the Moretta mask. Made of black velvet and oval in shape, the Moretta covered the face to the outer edges and was held in place by a bit that was placed between the teeth. It first became popular with women wearing it when they visited convents. It was often worn with a veil. By the 18th Century, both men and women were wearing the masks to conceal their identity in the gambling houses.
but no cutout for the mouth. Because it was so common, it was often known as the "citizen" mask because ordinary people, such as servants, wore it during carnival and other events that called for a disguise.
The Volto, or Larva, mask was among the most common type of mask. It is a simple white mask, making the wearer appear eerie or ghost-like. It was oval in shape and covered the entire face, with cutouts for the eyes,wore the Bauta.Among the most common are the Bauta, Moretta, Volto, and Doctor of the Plague masks.