The Carnevale di Venezia (or Carnival of Venice) is one of the most famous carnivals in the world. Located in Venice, Italy, this two-week-long celebration is held on the days leading up to Lent and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. Carnevale has been celebrated since the 15th century. This huge masquerade street party extravaganza features masked balls, live music, and lots of color. Thousands come each year to take part in the famous festival. Fancy dress, elaborate Venetian masks, and a lively party atmosphere attracts visitors from around the globe. Come take part in Italy’s best celebration!
1. Wear a costume
Be one with the locals! Don a luxurious period themed costume while exploring the colorful streets. Either create your own costume or rent one from one of Venice’s many ateliers. Ateliers have handmade collections of intricate, luxury costumes to choose from.
2. Buy your own Venetian mask
Venetian masks are a staple of Carnevale and a treasured souvenir for years to comes. You can choose a traditional 18th century-style mask or more original, modern varieties. Masks can be purchased for a few euro at one of the many shops on the street. Alternatively, you can opt to splurge on a traditional, ancient mask made of paper mâche and ribbons.
3. See the Flight of the Angel
The “Flight of the Angel” is a traditional Carnevale event dating back to the 16th century. During the event, the “angel” dressed in traditional costume and attached to a wire leaps from the famous bell tower in St. Mark’s Square above the crowd. It’s one of the festival’s most beloved events and is not to be missed!
4. Attend a masquerade ball
If you’re willing to shell out some extra cash, partaking in one of the festival’s masquerade balls guarantees a night you won’t soon forget. Attendees dress in their finest Venetian costumes as they enjoy candlelit dinners, magical performances, and lots of dancing.
5. Musical and theatrical street performances in Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco is one of the most beautiful squares in the world, featuring expensive cafes, the Clock Tower, and Italy’s famous pigeons. Labeled as the only official “square” in Venice, it is the epicenter for all things creative and fun! Stroll through the square and listen to orchestral music or watch the street performers become immortalized through the photos and videos of tourists.
6. Try a sweet treat such as fritola or crostoli
Italy is best known for its food, but the treats that become available during Carnevale season are simply delicious. The most popular treat, found at various pastry shops all over the city, are typically up to €2 and are called fritole. The cheaper, the better is the rule for this fried dough with custard or ricotta filling. This treat topped with powdered sugar is definitely worth a try because it’s only around for a limited time!
7. Take a trip down the Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is lined on either side with churches, palaces, and other buildings. A gondola ride along the canal is a must when visiting Venice, and especially during Carnevale. Enjoy the colors and livelihood of the city as you take in old Venice.
8. Go with the flow
There is a lot to do and see in the two weeks that make up Carnevale. Don’t get caught up in a strict itinerary. Instead, allow yourself to wander the streets, admire the jugglers and acrobats, revel in the bright colors and sophisticated costumes, and overall just have fun.
What’s your favorite part of Carnevale? Do you have any tips of your own?