This year's Venice carnival began yesterday with the Flight of the Angel. Julia Nasi, a 22-year-old student, descended from the bell tower of St. Mark's Basilica to mark the official start of proceedings.

For 17 days every year Venetians and tourists wearing colourful costumes and masks celebrate one of the oldest carnivals in the world.

Portugal wildfires
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire in Cabanoes, near Coimbra in central PortugalFrancisco Leong/AFP