Everyone knows that Venice is, by definition, the city of the Carnival: among all the masks and sweets it’s impossible to remain indifferent in front of the charm of a city that continues to make all generations dream. If you’re planning to go on a trip to Venice, perhaps right during the Carnival period, here are some suggestion to make sure you fully enjoy this amazing festival!
1.Wear a costume: Do you feel like a 18th-century lady? Or have you always dreamt about dressing up as Casanova? You must have certainly seen masked people wandering around the typical Venetian streets, “calli” and “callette”. Many of them decide to have fun personally creating their costumes (just think that many Venetians admitted to have been working for 6 months or even a year to sew theirs!). But, if you have no experience of sewing, don’t worry: you can always rent your favourite dress in one of the many ateliers around the city. Some shops have a century-old tradition and, there, experienced tailors and artisans will be able to find the perfect costume for you!
2.Have a taste of the typical desserts: Fritole (Venetian doughnuts), Galani (Angel wings), and many more! As every other respectable celebration, Carnival has its own delicacies and in Venice it is an opportunity to rediscover an ancient culinary tradition. Get lost among the many pastry shops of the city and have a taste of these must-have: you won’t be disappointed!
3.Have an “aperitivo” in San Marco: It doesn’t matter if you prefer Spritz or Prosecco, go sit in one of the many historical meeting place of San Marco Square and let yourself be tempted by a bubbly waterfall! The bars under the Procuratie are the best spots to admire the participants of the Concorso della Maschera più Bella (Most Beautiful Mask Contest) and their spectacular costumes.
4.Follow the Corteo delle Marie (Procession of the Marie): the Venice Carnival is not only a simple celebration. Among the many unforgettable events, there’s the Festa delle Marie (Celebration of the Marie) with its historical procession through the city streets from Sestiere di Castello to San Marco. On Sunday 16th February, the 12 Marie, chosen by a special jury, are carried on the back by the young gondoliers between flag wavers and musicians. This procession is a commemoration of an important event that happened in 973, when, during the traditional wedding blessing that was held every year at the San Pietro di Castello Church, 12 young girls were kidnapped along with their dowries. However, thanks to the immediate intervention of the Doge and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the girls were rescued. In more recent years, it was decided to commemorate this event with a spectacular procession full of tradition.
5.See the Volo dell’Angelo (Flight of the Angel): talking about the Festa delle Marie, you must know that every year the Maria winner of the previous Carnival Contest is invited to descend from the bell tower of San Marco to the main stage in the square. A stunning flight that will take your breath away!
6.Enjoy the exclusive parties: what Carnival would it be without a bit of sophistication? In Venice, the aristocratics loved hosting elegant parties in sumptuous palaces, strictly in costume, in which they drank, ate and danced until sunrise. This tradition was also kept: in fact, if you look well enough among the many organized events, you can find these exclusive parties in which you could live the Carnival of Venice as an 18th-century nobleman.
7.Go see the Volo dell’Aquila (Flight of the Eagle): Another round, another flight! The protagonist of the Volo dell’Aquila is a celebrity who is invited to give a hug to the city by flying from the bell tower to the main stage. In a few minutes, you will take part to a spectacular descending!
8.Follow the cultural events: The Carnival is a good opportunity for many cultural organizations to create a calendar full of events! Exhibitions, workshops, shows and international guests will animate the cultural program by stimulating the most curious minds
9.Move to the mainland: If you think that the Carnival is only San Marco, you’re very wrong! The metropolitan city has a lot to offer and you can find interesting events even on the mainland. For example, in Mestre, Piazza Ferretto is waiting for you with its Carnival Street Show: street artists, jugglers and entertainment for children and adults!
10.Greet “El paron de casa” (“The owner of the house”, the way the Venetians call the bell tower in San Marco): The Svolo del Leon is the closing event of the Venetian Carnival. During the afternoon of “fat” Tuesday (the 25th of February), the San Marco Gonfalone (the flag with the city emblem) is dragged across the square from the main stage to the bell tower. It’s a symbolic gesture: the city says goodbye to one of its most famous symbols and tells everyone to come back again next Carnival!
11. Pictures, pictures, pictures! Take all the pictures you can: Venice offers really unique sceneries to capture, with or without a mask! Remember to tag us on social media: we want to see your most beautiful photos on Instagram (#CarnevaleVenezia2020 and @venice_carnival_official), Facebook (@Carnevaleveneziaofficialpage) and Twitter (@Venice_Carnival).