Imagine the hobnobbing here as Venetian society gathered under candlelit chandeliers. Insisting it remained exceptional, Venetian society chose to dance rather than to adapt. These served as souvenirs for rich tourists after Venice became an obligatory stop on the Grand Tour. Throughout Europe, but especially here in Venice, Carnevale provided a safety valve for people to really cut lose before Lent — a time of austerity leading up to Easter. Venice was home to influential composers and for two centuries, a force in the world of opera.