Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

The Ridotto Dressing Code

by Giovanni Grevembroch - 1731-1807

Even being a Public Establishment, open for everybody, when the Ridotto was made legal in 1638, some rules were formulated which regulated who would be admitted to enter, and in was the Nobility only, in the end. Oh surprise ...

There was sort of a dressing code, that went as follows, for men:

  • Bauta mask
  • Tricorn hat (that was holding the mask in place)
  • Tabarro, decent rich looking dress.

It was a little less defined for women, as long as they were wearing a mask.

Hidden identity was really paramount in those times, and less affluent Venetians were thereby prohibited from making wagers at the casino's tables.

Only the “barnabotti”, the croupiers, would appear with bare faces. The name is coming from a a poor neighborhood in Venice (San Barnaba). Usually the barnabotti were impoverished nobles, with a special preference to those who had lost all their belongings at gambling.

You gamble ... you lose ... you serve the others gambling ... and the wheel is turning!

Watercolor by Giovanni Grevembroch: "Nobile al Ridotto" 18th century
Giovanni Grevembroch: "Nobile al Ridotto"
(Noble at the Casino) - pen, ink & watercolor (18th century)
Museo Correr, Venezia

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