Masks everywhere but few of the festive kind as businesses reckon with absence of 3m tourists

Among the masks on display at Tragicomica, one of the oldest traditional mask shops in Venice, are about a dozen or so with long beaks. Called medico della peste, or plague doctor, they are based on masks worn by doctors who tended to plague victims during an outbreak in the 17th century.

While once they were a potent symbol of death, in modern times they became one of the most prominent emblems of festivity during Venice’s carnival.

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