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'Flight of the angel' kicks off Venice Carnival

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Irene Rizzi performs the "Angel flight" or "Flight of the dove" from the bell tower of Saint Mark's square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
09:21 CET+01:00
Tens of thousands of revellers, many dressed in masks and period costume, packed into St Mark's Square for the "flight of the angel" on Sunday which marks the traditional opening of the Carnival of Venice.

On the twelfth chime of midday from St Mark's Campanile, fearless 19-year-old Irene Rizzi leapt from the famous bell tower, attached to a wire 80 metres above the huge crowd that had gathered for one of the world's most celebrated carnivals.

SEE ALSO: In pictures - Venice Carnival gets off to flying start

The carnival, which lasts until February 9th, is thought to have started in 1162 after a military victory. Abandoned for decades, it was resurrected in 1980.

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Photo: AFP

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