Venice is a magical city at any time of year, and while it’s popular all year round, it is particularly special during the Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival). Travel lovers come to Venice these days from all over the world. This year Venice Carnival will take place from 8 to 25 February. Here’s how to participate and all you need to know about this unique event!
Do you wanna know some historical facts about Venice Carnival?
The Venice Carnival began in 1162 in celebration of the Venice Republic’s victory over its enemy: the Patriarch of Aquileia. The people of Venice gathered in Saint Mark’s Square (San Marco) to dance and celebrate their victory. Ever since then, everyone celebrated the victory in the streets of Venice. As time went on, the carnival was celebrated for its own sake and most revelers probably had no idea how it began. It was simply an excuse to have a lot of fun!
Unfortunately, all this came to an end when the Serenissima Republic fell to Napoleon in 1797. The Carnival was banned and all the celebrations and rituals associated with it were shut down. Venice was no more independent. Jumping ahead to 1979… the Italian government decided to help Venice reconnect with its festival heritage in order to rejuvenate the culture and economy of Venice. Carnival season now floods the streets with tourists and mask shops have popped up all over the city, revitalizing the craft. It’s a postmodern version of the pre-modern festival.
Let’s start with a carnival costume!
Of course, you need a costume and mask. If you’re going to one of the balls, then you’ll need to follow the dress code for an Italian Masquerade Ball — so black-tie dress code with your most decadent mask. If you like, you can embrace the traditions and purchase traditional Venetian masquerade attire — lookout for the trademark high collar and puffy sleeves!
Moreover, a traditional competition for the best carnival costume will be held during the carnival. The audience and the jury will choose the winners. The contest is in three stages: the preliminary selection of participants, the second stage on February 20 – 22, the grand final of the contest is scheduled for February 23. Competition for children is on February 24.
Participation in the contest is free for you. For participation in a competition, you need to download the form from the official website, enter the required information, and send it by e-mail to the organizers. Further instructions you will receive by e-mail.
If you’re a talented or creative amateur dressmaker, you can of course make your own, inspired by the models of the Commedia dell’Arte. You can also order one online, or visit the workshops a few days in advance: Atelier “Flavia”, “Ca del Sol” laboratory and shop, or atelier “Antonia Sautter” near St. Mark’s Square are the most famous and acclaimed sewing workshops.
What to do during the Venice Carnival?
Though Venice is already a magical city during the rest of the year, during the carnival period, it adorns itself with its most beautiful attire, so take advantage of it, and take and eye-full of the celebrations taking place.
Carnival in Venice is a huge celebration that goes on for two weeks. While many events — particularly the opulent masquerade balls — require invitations and have steep ticket prices, many others, like the candle-lit parade of boats, concerts, and street performances, are free and open to the public. Here you can check the whole program of the Venice Carnival.
Most of the carnival takes place in St Mark’s Square. Take the opportunity to drink a cappuccino at one of the cafés in the square but also visit the surrounding area such as the Doge’s Palace or the Campanile to get an overview of the festivities. A fireworks show held in Piazza San Marco culminates Carnevale and the fireworks can be seen from almost anywhere in Venice.
Make sure to follow the official websites of Carnevale di Venezia as well as Venezia Unica (the tourism office of Venice) if you would like to be up-to-date on last-minute changes and informed by other carnival related events.
To do list:
- Stroll through the Piazza San Marco square, take a look at beautiful people in carnival costumes. Most of those dressed in carnival costumes people will be happy to take pictures with you. They will not take money for it!
- See the most beautiful places in Venice and take photos. You can not make such photos anywhere else.
- Buy a mask from a merchant on the street and join the participants of the carnival. Just walk along the canals and stroll through the streets of the city.
- Buy (rent) a real Venetian carnival costume in one of the studios and become a participant in the carnival. Become a part of this beautiful city and colorful carnival.
- Buy a ticket to a costume party and enjoy the community of people like you, old music and Venetian cuisine.
- Take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. You can find gondoliers at berths in many places in the city.
Still, have doubts about Venice Carnival 2020?
One of the biggest reasons to visit Venice during the carnival is to see how the city transforms for the occasion. This is especially relevant if you’ve visited Venice before and are keen to have a different experience of the city. The visual transformation alone is spectacular and delightful. And, while the carnival is great from start to finish, its opening two days have the biggest, most impressive spectacles. You can’t miss it.
In conclusion, Venice has a great atmosphere at any time of year, but it’s especially exciting during the Carnival. There are more people, there are street performers, parades, and special events happening everywhere. All of this makes it impossible to be bored in Venice at this time of year. If you prefer a peaceful city break, then perhaps visit Venice at some other time of year.
Nevertheless, it’s really better to choose and book a guided tour or a personal guide. You will learn many interesting things and see the most beautiful places. Jerulita team is ready to help you. We will make your first experience in Venice the most amazing! Contact us via mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you have a single question or a special request, we’re here for you!
P.S. If you have already been to Venice and don’t know what to do in February, check out this material.