Venice is still famous for its Carnivale, which originated in the twelfth century. Participants wear elaborate masks and clothing.
Shylock lived in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto, Il Ghetto de Venezia, where he would have used this traditional Kiddush Cup for blessings over wine. The Ghettos were mandated by Pope Paul IV in 1555. Segregation of the Jews was imposed for three centuries.