Masked revelers in colorful makeovers thronged to the Venetian streets and the city's St. Mark's Square as a preview of the Venice Carnival 2012 was held Feb. 4 and 5 in Venice, Italy.

The 2012 Venice Carnival will happen from Feb. 11 to 21, according to the festival's official site.

The annual festival, that starts every year 40 days before Easter, attracts thousands and thousands of visitors turning up to Venice each day for Carnivals.

Masks are a key feature of the festival and signify a common identity among the classes. Many events are in store for this year's festival.

The city of Venice will be the host of different scenic shows and events in main Campos and on the Grand Canal featuring concerts, live performances by international artists and mask parades. The Carnival offers a daily and diverse artistic program in the Grand Theatre of St. Mark's Square and in dozens of other public art spaces from early in the morning until late at night, a statement on the festival's official site reads.

Check out below the pictures from the colorful preview of the 2012 Venice Carnival at St. Mark's Square: