Venice becomes an open-air theatre for this year’s Carnival celebrations, dedicated to free expression and creativity! From 4 to 21 February 2023, the Venice Carnival returns, spread across the city’s campi, squares, calli and streets. The Arsenale will once again be the protagonist of a spectacular show on the water, to which will be added the return of the masked float parades on the mainland and islands of Venice.
The symbols of earth, water, fire and air move from the origins to originality to become a unique and imperfect sign, an expression of the unique and unrepeatable self. “Take your Time for the Original Signs” is the title of the Venice Carnival 2023. From 4 to 21 February, calli and campi, streets and squares will once again resound with music and performances for a Carnival spread throughout the city, from the islands to the mainland. For about twenty days, Venice will become an open-air theatre and a widespread ideal scenario where every language and artistic form is admitted. An edition that once again sees the signature of Massimo Checchetto, Artistic Director and set designer of the La Fenice Theatre.
An irreverent and playful overturning of conventions: the theme of the 2023 edition is inspired by the signs of the constellations and by those original symbols that distinguish the Venetian Carnival. This festive and ancestral atmosphere is an invitation to participate in the great and fantastic ‘Zodiac’ of originality and creativity of the most famous Carnival in the world, seeking one’s original sign in total freedom of creative expression, as a manifestation of identity and self-affirmation.
“The first sign traced by the hand of man dates back to some 70,000 years ago, representing the desire and inescapable need to communicate. Over time, that sign is transformed into culture and, through a renewed capacity for expression, becomes creativity, that same original creativity that is the basis of the Carnival of Venice – declares Massimo Checchetto – The mission of this Carnival is to seek within oneself one’s original sign, recreating one’s own Zodiac in the uniqueness of each one. Beware though, originality is not perfect but it is certainly as unique as Venice and its Carnival. Let’s take some time to search for our original sign and bring it to the Venice Carnival 2023!”.
A Carnival, therefore, born under the sign of Saint Mark’s Lion and under the banner of free expression, creative energy, fantastic worlds, mythical animals and heroes, which, through a rich programme of events and shows, wants to make people dream again through the signs with lightness and invention.
On the official Carnival website www.carnevale.venezia.it, under the heading Carnevale Metropolitano, all the events organised by the municipalities of the Metropolitan City of Venice will be collected in order to facilitate the participation of visitors and citizens in the area and thus provide a single entertainment programme.
“The Venice Carnival this year looks back to look forward. A plunge into the past to think about the future” comments Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. “The origins and meaning of one of the most famous Venetian festivals in the world take their cue from the Latin Saturnalia and the Greek Dionysian cults, great religious celebrations that involved the use of masks and symbolic representations, reworking them for their own purposes. The Venice Carnival of 2023 is this, it is a celebration of the whole city and of those who live and love it. Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, will go out into the calli and campi to have fun, laugh and rejoice, concealing their identity behind a mask that makes, for that moment, everyone equal. A party for everyone, especially children and families, with a format that follows last year’s winning one: widespread shows and events that will take place in different areas of the municipal and metropolitan area, from the city centre and the islands to the squares of the City of Venice: from Mestre to Marghera, passing through Zelarino, Chirignago, Favaro, Tessera, and Malcontenta”.
THE PROLOGUE IN THE SIGN OF WATER
Water will once again be at the centre of the first opening weekend in Venice: on Saturday 4 February, the Opening Parade will be held to show all the symbols of the carnival tradition, thanks to artists, colours, light effects and music delivering an exceptional floating performance that will parade along the Grand Canal.
On Sunday 5 February it will be the turn of the traditional parade of typical local boats, organised in collaboration with the Coordinamento Associazioni Remiere di Voga alla Veneta (Coordination of Venetian Rowing Associations) and led by the legendary “Pantegana”.
On the same weekend, the first event of Carnival 2023 in Mestre will be a preview of the Carnival Street Show that will animate the Teatrino in Piazza Ferretto. A programme that will continue over the following weekend, bringing art and creativity to the historic city centre, the islands of the lagoon and the Venetian mainland in a widespread manner, with the best protagonists of the international scene performing through music, circus-theatre and clowning.
In St. Mark’s Square in Venice and Piazza Ferretto in Mestre, twin theatres will be set up to welcome all the masks that wish to participate in the now traditional Most Beautiful Mask Competition. The photos of the masks will be published and subjected to an online vote, deciding the winner at the end of each day and then the overall winner at the end of the event. In addition to the 360° photo set, the stages will also feature music, events and performers.
ORIGINAL SIGNS: THE NIGHT SHOW IN THE ARSENAL
After the success of the 2022 edition, the Arsenal will once again be the protagonist of an extraordinary and exciting water show. “Original Signs” is the title of a show made of imaginative visions, lights, technique and sensitivity, which will offer 30 minutes of pure magic. A parade of strong visual and artistic impact, a mythical place where artists coming from the most diverse disciplines will be able to tell us their signs.
THE “12 MARIE” AT THE VENICE CARNIVAL
Saturday 11 February will see the presentation to the public of the “12 Marie” of Carnival 2023. After the long-awaited selection on 3 February, which will see the participation of competitors from the Metropolitan City of Venice aged between 18 and 28 years, the “12 Marie” will parade on board gondolas along the Grand Canal dressed in historical costumes. They will then reach St. Mark’s Square, where they will be welcomed and presented to the public. A collaboration that includes the Venice Carnival organisation with the newspaper Il Gazzettino and patron Maria Grazia Bortolato, who follows the footsteps of the unforgettable Bruno Tosi. After an intense programme of events and socio-cultural activities, on Fat Monday at the Sale Apollinee of the Teatro La Fenice, the proclamation of the winners of the competition will be held: the Maria of the Year and the Maria de Il Gazzettino, the latter selected by the newspaper’s readers. As per tradition, on Tuesday 21 February the winning Maria will be presented in St. Mark’s Square.
THE FLOAT PARADES
The 2023 Carnival edition also sees the great return of the masked float parades throughout the city, from the islands of the lagoon – Lido, Pellestrina and Burano – to the mainland – Campalto, Mestre, Zelarino and Marghera.
THE CARNIVAL OF CULTURE
Carnival in Venice is not only street art and outdoor spaces. Art and theatre return to celebrate Carnival with a programme of performances in the City’s cultural spaces with the tried and tested experience of the Carnival of Culture. Theatres and museums will gear up to host shows, concerts and events in order to satisfy even the most demanding viewers, offering programmes and events on this year’s theme. These include the extraordinary openings of the museums of the MUVE Foundation circuit, as well as the programming proposed by the Venice Biennale and the city’s theatres.
ORIGINAL SINNERS: THE CARNIVAL OFFICIAL DINNER SHOW & BALL
“Original Sinners” is the title of the official Dinner Show & Ball of the Carnival at Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, once again signed by the stylist Antonia Sautter. From 11 to 12 February and from 16 to 21 February, amidst sumptuous gowns and unforgettable artistic performances, the “sinners” will meet in the magnificent rooms overlooking the Grand Canal to transgress at the table and, for one night, give space to their innermost desires. Tickets will be available at www.carnevale.venezia.it.
Thanks to the involvement of the commercial and touristic sectors of the city of Venice, there will be other music and entertainment initiatives in the area’s public establishments.
These are the first events of the 2023 edition of the Venice Carnival, but many more surprises will be announced in the coming days. For updates and programmes, consult the official website www.carnevale.venezia.it and Carnival’s social channels.