Venice is an incredible city – beautiful and full of atmosphere. Yet once a year, during the Venice Carnival, its beauty and ambience go up a notch, and it becomes even more spellbinding. The Venice Carnival is a one of a kind event where the city quite literally bursts into life – with visitors traveling from all over the world to attend and experience this exquisite event. This coming year, the Carnival will run from January 27th until February 13th 2018. Here’s your guide to the key dates and events taking place in Venice:
The Grand Opening of the Venice Carnival – Saturday January 27th
In the evening the Festa Veneziana will take place along the Rio di Cannaregio – where beautifully lit structures will float along the waterway. They are usually designed to be in keeping with the theme of the Carnival. It’ll be a fantastic opening to the event – with music, light, rhythm and fun.
The Festa Veneziana Part Two – Sunday, January 28th from 11am – 2pm
Here the water parade, full of fabulously designed boats, will sail along the Grand Canal to the Rio di Cannaregio. Expect music and entertainment on the shores of the canal, and fabulous Venetian food.
Best Mask Contest – February 3rd Onwards
This is a daily parade on St Mark’s Square. Masks are a huge part of the Venice Carnival – a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of the event, 700 years ago. In this competition, you can get dressed in your Venice Carnival costume and mask, and strut your stuff, marveling at the other masks and costumes at the Square. Those who take part from Thursday to Saturday (February 8th – February 10th) may get a place in the final on Sunday February 11th.
Festa delle Marie – February 3rd 2018 at San Pietro di Castello
Another carnival favourite held at San Pietro di Castello, this traditional competition goes back to the days of the Doge when twelve Venetian ladies competed to receive jewels and a bridal dowry. The event reaches its final on the February 10th with the parade of the twelve finalists selected through preceding events. This event culminates at the stage in St Mark’s Square at 4pm.
The Official Dinner Show and Ball – February 3rd & 4th, then February 8th–13th 2018.
A tradition that dates back to the early days of the Carnival, this event will take place at the Ca’ Vendramin Calergi Palace, overlooking the Grand Canal. Masks and costumes were traditional and meant that people from all walks of life could mix without the social class barriers that would have separated them in historical Venice. It’s an experience like no other. Dress accordingly and enjoy all the fun of the ball – music, food and mystery! Book your place at the Ca’ Vendramin Official Carnival Ball with Venice Events!
*This is your chance to take part in a traditional Italian Masquerade Ball*
The Flight of the Angel – February 4th 2018 on St Mark’s Square
A lady, usually a winner from the Festa delle Marie, dressed as an angel, will glide from the San Marco Bell Tower to St Mark’s Square to greet the Doge – a re-enactment of a traditional ceremony that dates back to the times where there was a Doge – the most senior elected official in Venice.
The Flight of the Eagle – February 11th 2018 at St Mark’s Square
As the title suggests, a beautifully costumed individual will glide on a rope from the top of St Mark’s Bell Tower to Saint Mark’s Square. It’s a relatively new edition to the celebrations – but no less of an incredible sight.
The Festa delle Marie 2018 Award Ceremony – February 13th at 4pm
This is where the winning Marie will arrive by boat to St. Mark’s Square – where she will receive her crown.
The Svolo del Leon – Scheduled to Take Place February 13th at 5pm
The Leone di San Marco, is a famous symbol of Venice, and in tribute, a large lion, painted on canvas will fly up to the Bell Tower on Saint Mark’s Square – over the heads of the crowd below.
*The Festa delle Marie and Svolo del Leon are some of the last events of the carnival*
Key Spots To See The Venice Carnival Unfold
One of the main areas for the Venice Carnival celebrations is Saint Mark’s square – many of the competitions either take place or culminate there. It’s also the best place to really appreciate the costumes – since the Best Mask Contest takes place here, too.
What To Wear
If you are going to one of the Balls, then you’ll need to follow the dress code for an Italian Masquerade Ball. It’s incredible fun, a truly memorable experience. If you’re going to enjoy the festivities – particularly on the Square, then it’s great fun to immerse yourself in the traditions and don your mask too. You can make your own mask in Venice, or there are lots of shops selling these traditional and beautiful creations. Whatever you choose, you can always rent your carnival costume with Venice Events!
The Venice Carnival attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s an incredible sight and experience. Venice is special at any time of year, but during the Carnival she just glows and it is infectious – you will have a very memorable experience.
If you’d like to find out more about visiting Venice during the Venice Carnival please visit our Venice Carnival Eventspage to see our full selection of events on offer during the carnival season! Be sure to book now for something to look forward to in the New Year! We would be delighted to welcome you to this very special city, at this very special time of year.