From: Saturday, February 3, 2024
To: Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Venice Carnival is home to the largest and most famous Masked Ball. The Event has existed since the Middle Ages before becoming a pre-lenten Catholic festival. Carnival, or Carnevale as it is known locally, became an outlet for all things prohibited.
- Venice is a city that is full of opulence. Enjoy a uniquely Venetian experience with a stay at the Gritti Palace , a luxury hotel on the Grand Canal with stunning views.
- Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival) recreates when the Venetian Republic ruled the world’s trade routes and held an elite place in the world.
- The lavish parties, costumes, masks, food, music and spectacles evoke memories of the wealthy Venetian merchants of the past.
When is Venice Carnival
- Venice Carnival starts ten days before martedì Grasso (Shrove Tuesday). St Mark’s Square is the fulcrum of Carnival activities. Venice Carnival always finishes on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the last allowed day when one can indulge in gluttony, excess and debauchery, before the 40 days of Lent will begin.
- The entire Carnival celebrations last 17 days, starting on February 4 and ending on February 21 2023.
- Most visitors arrive on the final weekend of Carnival from Fat Thursday (Giovedì Grasso) until Shrove Tuesday (Martedì Grasso), when the best events occur.
Venice Carnival Events
- While Venice Carnival is famous for its elaborate (and expensive) Masquerade Carnival Balls, the city hosts several free shows and costumes at Piazza San Marco, open Museum Tours, Gondola parades along the grand canal and stunning light projection shows.
- Although Venice’s main Carnevale events are centred around the Piazza San Marco, don’t be afraid to explore beyond the centre. Events are held in every sestiere, or quarter, of Venice.
Where to stay during Venice Carnival
- Most of the main events take place at St.Mark’s Square. Stay close-by if you want to experience everything Carnival has to offer. Book your hotel early as this is one of the most popular locations in Venice.
- Consider the lovely 3 Star Hotel Santo Stefano, right on the square, with excellent amenities, unique Venetian decor and friendly hosts.
- The Palazza Pianca perfectly blends the old with the new, having reformed the property while maintaining the hotel’s unique character
Masks and costumes
- If you have not packed your costume in advance, you can rent some fantastic outfits from Ca’ del Sol . However, you will need to have this planned well in advance. Most start from EUR 200 per day and do not include a wig or a mask.
- Masks are an essential item for Venice Carnival. Avoid the cheap masks and go for a traditional handmade Venetian mask that will serve as a lasting memento of your visit. Usually made of leather or porcelain, many Venetian masks provide wearers with exaggerated features—a long, pointy nose or a rounded brow, for instance—meant to portray particular character traits or emotions while protecting the wearer’s identity.
- Benor Maschere Venezia – (No website – Calle Gallion, 1155, Venezia, Italy) Located in the Santa Croce neighbourhood. Stunning Hand made masks.
- Ca’ Macana – Artisan mask market in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood. Watch as skilled artisans create the masks using ancient methods.
- Mondonovo Maschere – Mask markers to the stars and Hollywood celebrities.
Venice Carnival – Main Events & Dates
Here are the most important events for Venice Carnival 2024
- Awaiting dates: Venetian Water Festival (La Festa Veneziana sull’acqua) (Rio di Cannareggio)
The Grand Opening festival takes place on the canals and is colourful. Arrive at least one or two hours before the show commences to ensure you get a good vantage point along the canal to see the show.
- Saturday 3rd Feb 2024: Festa delle Marie (via Garibaldi); Time: 2.30pm – 4:00p
Parade Route: The ‘Marie parade’ departs from San Pietro in Castello and follows Via Garibaldi finishing at St Mark’s Square. A colourful carnival parade and a day when all marriages are blessed.
- Sunday 4th Feb 2024: THE FLIGHT OF THE ANGEL (Piazza San Marco); Midday, noon sharp
- The Volo dell’Angelo (“flight of the angel”), when a beauty pageant winner gets to ride a zip-wire from the campanile in St Mark’s square. This Event is one of the most popular and takes place at midday on the first Sunday of Carnival. Promptly at the stroke of noon, an acrobat will leap off the San Marco Bell Tower and fly through the air, landing in the middle of Saint Mark’s Square to the delight of the crowd.
- Sunday 11th Feb 2024: The Flight of the Eagle (Piazza San Marco); Time: 12:00 pm
- Flight of the Eagle, known as Volo dell’Aquila in Italian, is another spectacular flight from St Mark’s Bell Tower. The flight is recreated each year by a surprise guest.
- Tuesday 13th Feb 2024: ‘Svolo del Leon’ (Piazza San Marco). The Flight of the Lion
A Lion is the official symbol of the city, and the final official activity of the Venice Carnival is the flight of the Lion of San Marco. A vast canvas flag bearing the emblem of the lion is hoisted atop the Bell Tower, followed b a spectacular series of fireworks.
The Best Masked Costume
- Sunday 11th Feb 2024: Final of the competition The Most Beautiful Mask (Piazza San Marco)
- The search for the year’s best costume is the chance to strut your finery on the stage erected in St Mark’s square. From February, a day’s best and a festival finest competition run side-by-side, with twice-a-day heats. The grand finale for the festival best is not to be missed.Don’t just be a tourist! At least grab yourself an authentic mask (not one made in Asia). You can also rent spectacular costumes from many of the local boutiques.
- The Best Masked Costume Competition takes place daily at 11:00 am daily during the ten days of Carnival, and the daily winners will then participate in the final parade held on the last Sunday of Carnival. Anyone can take part, and it is entirely free to enter.
Venice Carnival Pub Crawl
- Enjoy the best of Venice Carnival on a Costumed Pub Crawl., giro d’ombra as it’s known in Italian. It is a famous Venetian tradition as locals move from bacaro enjoying Cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and a small glass of wine while making new friends and enjoying the Carnival atmosphere. Evenings tend to be quieter during Venice Carnival, as most activities and parades occur during the day. The bar crawl is a great way to spend an evening out.
- Cicchetti, pronounced “chee-KET-eeh,” are small dishes, similar to Spanish tapas, sold individually and eaten with friends over a glass of wine. Cicchetti bars, or bacari, have a selection, and each bar will have its specialities. Cicchetti typically cost from €1 to a couple of euro apiece, and you can easily select a plate full and have a glass of wine for under €10.
Recommended Restaurants during Carnival
Avoid the tourist traps when dining in Venice, especially if you are greeted on the street by overzealous waiters brandishing menus with pictures of your potential meal!
- Osteria al Squero – A 3-min walk from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the bar is very small and has only a few seats inside, so the majority of people sit outside on the bank of the canal. Serves delicious small dishes and an excellent wine list.
- All’Arco – Steps from the Rialto serving delicious cicchetti and prosciutto.
- Al Timon – Informal restaurant in a rustic space serving seafood, steak & pasta, plus wine & outdoor seating. Try and grab a table outside, along the Ormesini canal.
- Cà D’Oro alla – Over a century old, this cosy bacaro has covered with brass pans & a menu featuring meatballs & local wines.
- Frittelle, or fritters, are similar to a fried doughnut. They are the traditional dish of Carnival appearing around the Epiphany (January 6) and disappearing just as Carnival ends. Many come with delicious fillings, including Rum and chocolate.
The Grand Balls
- Many of the hotels and venues will host elaborate masked balls. These events are pretty expensive and will be quite mixed.
- Topping the pile is the annual Gran Ballo della Cavalchina, a wild – and wildly expensive –extravaganza inside La Fenice opera house.
Getting Around Venice
- The city is approximately 3 miles wide with the major sights concentrated in the neighborhoods of San Polo, across the Grand Canal from the train station; Dorsoduro a little further south; and San Marco to Dorsoduro’s west, again across the Grand Canal. But don’t worry, everyone gets lost.
- It is almost impossible to get to your destination in a straight line as Venice is riddled with dead ends and twisted passageways.
Gay Venice & Venice Carnival
- Legend has it that gay and bisexual men exploited a loophole in the city’s laws during the Carnival of Venice and enjoyed a hedonistic few weeks of revelry and rule-breaking. Carnival was a time when some laws were deemed void if the perpetrator was wearing a mask. Men would don a catlike veil, known as the Gnaga mask, and dress up as women to sleep with other men, ostensibly incognito, and without facing prosecution.
- For nightlife, most gay visitors head off the island to Mestre, Venice’s mainland half, or nearby Padova/Padua (half an hour away) to party. Mestre is located 6 miles from Venice. Besides buses and trains (11 mins), there is also a tram service. It’s worth noting that Padova is also home to some of the loveliest wandering streets, gelato, and art in Italy.
- Two popular venues in Mestre include the Juice Berry Bar, a large gay cruise club, with lockers, bar, private cabins, play area and sauna Metrò Venezia Club, a gay sauna with dark room, sauna, maze, video room and cafe bar.
Where to stay during Venice Carnival
The following hotels are all close to the main Carnival events and the city’s many attractions.
Pesaro Palace, Hotel Abbazia, Hotel Antico Doge, UNA Hotel Venezia
Where to stay close to all the gay bars.
Our top 4 selections with the best rates.
Ai Mori d’Oriente is where our editors stay
Its charming & close to the activities.
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Venice Carnival visit The Website
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We have chosen hotels in Venice that keep you close to all the shops,restaurants & bars
Set in a 15th-century building on the Grand Canal, Pesaro Palace is next to the Ca’ d’Oro water bus stop. It offers Venetian-style rooms with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and flat-screen TV. Rooms are decorated with classic furniture and Murano glass lamps. Each comes with a minibar, carpeted floors and bathroom with hairdryer. Some overlook the Grand Canal.
Set near the Grand Canal in the peaceful Cannaregio district of Venice, Maison Venezia | UNA Esperienze is a 10-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge, and 15 minutes from St. Mark’s Square. The elegant and spacious rooms have flat-screen satellite TVs. Rooms also feature the exclusive Pillow Wow menu, each made from natural, hypoallergenic materials. Free WiFi is available throughout.
Set in a restored monastery, Hotel Abbazia is in the quiet Cannaregio district of Venice, 100 m from Santa Lucia Train Station. The hotel features a large courtyard garden with bar. The Abbazia’s classic rooms all have modern bathroom and include a minibar and satellite TV. Free Wi-Fi internet access is available in the entire hotel. A varied breakfast is served in the garden during the summer
This elegant 12th century building was once home to the Doge Marino Falier. Just 300 m from Rialto Bridge, it offers elegant rooms with antique furniture and original paintings. Rooms here are spacious and air conditioned. They have characteristic features such as four-poster beds or glass chandeliers. Every room has satellite TV, a minibar and Wi-Fi access.
Grand Opening of the Venice Carnival 2016- Official Video
Book with confidence. Get the best Prices from our partner Expedia
We have chosen hotels in Venice that keep you close to all the shops,restaurants & bars
2 restaurants, a fitness center, and a bar/lounge are available at this smoke-free hotel. Other amenities include a 24-hour business center, 24-hour room service, and concierge services. All 204 rooms feature thoughtful touches like bathrobes and slippers, plus free WiFi, free wired Internet, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels. Guests will also find 24-hour room service, free newspapers
A restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a snack bar/deli are available at this hotel. WiFi in public areas is free. Other amenities include a business center, concierge services, and dry cleaning. All 91 soundproofed rooms feature free WiFi and minibars. For a bit of entertainment, LED TVs come with digital channels, and guests will also appreciate thoughtful touches like bathrobes and slippers.
This smoke-free hotel features a bar/lounge, a rooftop terrace, and concierge services. Additionally, dry cleaning, laundry facilities, and a 24-hour front desk are onsite. All 61 soundproofed rooms feature free WiFi and memory foam beds. Comforts include premium bedding and pillow menus, and guests will also appreciate thoughtful touches like espresso makers and bathrobes.
A full-service spa, a bar/lounge, and a snack bar/deli are available at this smoke-free hotel. WiFi in public areas is free. Other amenities include self parking, a business center, and concierge services. All 26 soundproofed rooms feature free WiFi and room service. Guests can enjoy jetted tubs, and other standard amenities include minibars (stocked with some free items) and LCD TVs.