Second only to the glorious carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Venice Carnival is one of the most celebrated and spectacular festivities you can experience in the world.
If you are curious about what the Venice Carnival looks like, and whether coming to the carnival with your loved ones is a good choice, stay tuned.
You will truly understand why millions of visitors each year gather in the streets facing the canals, waiting in excitement for the boat parade to happen, while artistic masks and costumes wander through the city. Mind blowing choreographies, fashion parades and many events are set in Venice during this crazies period of the year.
Let's find out more in this article!
Venice Carnival: how it all began
Venice Carnival has always been a huge celebration, with the first proven carnivals dating back to the thirteenth century.
Venetians were able to interpret and mix both ancient pagan festivities of Romans and Greeks together with Christian recurrences, in up to four months of events and parties starting from November.
It was the Venetian way to make "panem and circenses" for the people ("literally "bread and circuses"). In fact, they used to do like the ancient Roman emperors did, promoting the big events inside the arenas to keep the citizens happy.
In that period, people used to dress as fictional characters, wearing masks and costumes of classic fictional characters of Venice and Italy.
Figures such as Arlecchino, Pulcinella, Colombina, and many more were used as blueprints to make the best costumes and masks. However the extravagance was not just relegated to costumes and masks.
In fact, everywhere in the city, many parties and events were organized, from San Marco Square to all the other smaller squares of the city. Many events were for private eyes only: doges and rich merchants used to organize private parties in their elegant palaces facing the Grand Canal, while the Baroque music of Vivaldi played in the background.
So much of these traditions luckily has survived and developed through the centuries!
When is the Venice Carnival celebrated?
Venice Carnival lasts for a long time, even though it's shorter than in the past.
The celebration starts right after the Christmas celebrations and lasts till Shrove Tuesday (Martedì Grasso, in Italian).
So, year after year, the Carnival length changes.
Usually, the most important part of the celebrations last from mid-February to mid-March, but you have to verify year after year.
Carnival 2023, for example, will take place from February 4th till February 21st.
How do Venetians celebrate this great period of the year
Like in the past, there are so many events that take place during this period.
It's the perfect time to come to Venice and attend the amazing events that reflect the tradition of the past, admire the beautifully costumed people and attend all the parties that are spread throughout the city.
Each year the city of Venice hosts and promotes a wide variety of both public and private parties held in Piazza San Marco and in the most beautiful palaces of the city: boat parades, the Flight of the angel, etc. Day after day, Venice shows the best of its traditions, its colors and its elegance.
Check out all the events from Piazza San Marco to the Arsenale or in the biggest squares of the city. You will be amazed by the variety and the richness of each performance!
The perfect occasion for private parties
Venice Carnival is also the perfect occasion to attend spectacular private parties.
You will find a multitude of different options. The most glamorous and elegant galas are held inside the marvelous Venetian palaces. Reserve your entrance in advance and dance all night while wearing the most exquisite garments.
However, if you are into music and dance clubs, the island of Lido but also the mainland will offer you the craziest parties. The choice is just up to you!
The amazing costumes
We all know that for many of us Carnival of Venice truly means one thing. Besides the events, the parties and the delicious food, many visitors come to Venice during this period to admire the beautiful masks.
The plague doctor or the bauta masks, the Colombina or the Arlecchino masks. There are so many different masks and all of them share such an incredible history.
What a joy to wear one of them and stroll around the city of Venice, like you are a rich nobleman of the past! Or go to lavish parties and dance all night surrounded by the most magnificent costumes.
It happens only here and only during Carnival!
What to eat during this crazy period
Venice has a very well-established and renowned cuisine. Every restaurant, bakery, and bacaro you will encounter during your stay will be ready with the traditional dishes of the season.
Let's find out which are the famous dishes and recipes that you certainly won't miss.
The most famous sweet is of course the fritter. This traditional and delicious Venetian recipe involves dough, flour, egg, deep-fried, and stuffed with cream.
If you are here, however, do not miss the chance to eat anchovies, baccalà, and taste the deliciousness of the many Cicchetti displayed inside the typical Bacari!
Some tips from Venice Insider Guide
If you are still wondering whether to give Venice Carnival a shot or not, just remember that you can find your proper way to celebrate.
There are events and parties for every need and desire. Besides, there are dozens of museums and art exhibitions that will open for the curious tourists. Just imagine yourself wandering inside the institutional chambers of Palazzo Ducale, all dressed up with a classic Venetian a long black mantle (actually called tabarro).
After the long years of pandemic, Venice has so much to offer in this period.
Try some traditional Venetian clothes, buy your favorite extravagant or romantic face mask and costume, and come to eat the best traditional Venetian dishes in the restaurants of the city.
Please remember to book everything you want in advance. In this period Venice is usually very crowded and you certainly do not want to miss the chance of doing your favorite activities.
Reserve your hotel rooms, but also your favorite restaurants, your entrances to museums and exhibitions. Do not forget to rent your costumes, in case you want, and reserve your entrance to the private parties.
Thousands of people come here during Venetian Carnival.
We are ready to welcome you in Venice!