Venetian word of the day: fritoa

Luca's Venice

In Venice, carnival has always filled up the period between the end of Christmas and the beginning of Lent. Towards the end of the Venetian Republic, not only did it fill up this period but spilled over, beginning in October, taking a break for Christmas, and then beginning again on December 26.

Today, the Christmas season ends on the January 6, and so, notwithstanding the official dates of the council-run festival—which this year starts on January 27—the carnival season starts on January 7.

The arrival of carnival in Venice is announced by the appearance of fritoe in the shops. This are sweet fritters, covered with sugar, a bit like a donut, which are traditionally eaten throughout the carnival season. Their origin in unclear, but we know that they were eaten in Renaissance Venice.

Fritoe, sometimes referred to as frittelle in standard Italian, come in various types: filled with crema…

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