5 Highlights of Carnival in Venice

What are the highlights of Carnival in Venice? Find out with our handy guide to the traditions and street parades that just can’t be missed.
If you’re a complete beginner to carnival in Venice, then you’ll want to make sure you see the famous events that take place in the street. Just wandering around the streets and bridges, soaking in the iconic views as masked crowds mill about you, is an experience in itself and we recommend you dive right in without a guide book! However, the unmissable events are:

1. 15th - 16th Feb Opening Weekend

A grand spectacle opens the festival: expect a riot of music, colour and fantastical creatures on the Grand Canal and the Cannaregio from 6pm on Sat 15th Feb.

This is followed by a feast for all the senses on Sunday 16th with a water parade starting at 10.30am: a succession of small boats sails along the Canal Grande to the historic Cannaregio district, where the audience can watch these unique boats and enjoy traditional carnival delicacies and Venetian specialities from stalls.

2. Sat 22nd Feb Festa della Marie

This part of the carnival celebrates a tradition unique to Venice, where 12 girls were showered with magnificent jewels as a bridal dowry by the Duke of Venice. This carnival custom requires a parade of 12 “Marias” to walk through the city, reaching the stage in Piazza San Marco to be introduced to an admiring crowd.

Piazza San Marco 4pm

3. Sun 23rd Feb Volo dell’Angelo

An event with a very long history, the Vollo del Angelo (Flight of the Angel) requires a young woman in traditional attire to descend from the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica; historically, this marked the beginning of the carnival and paid homage to the Doge of Venice.

Piazza San Marco 12pm

4. Sun 2nd March Grand Finale Mask Competition

Every day during Carnival, you can indulge in a little audience participation with a daily vote on the best masks and costumes, or even get dressed up yourself and really embrace the creative spirit of carnival.

Two daily contests take place at 11.00am and 3.00pm, with the weird, wonderful and exotic taking pride of place on the stage of the Gran Teatro in Piazza San Marco.

From Sat 22nd Feb - Sun 2nd March; Grand Final takes place 11am Sun 2nd March.

5. Tues 4th March: Svolo del Leon

The closing ceremony of the carnival, the Svolo del Leon is a celebration of the city’s lion emblem. A large lion canvas is drawn to the bell tower over the heads of an expectant crowd in the Piazza San Marco, and saluted by the twelve Marias.

Piazza San Marco 5pm

The Venice Carnival 2014 takes place from Friday Feb 14th to Tues 4th March.

More info can be found here: Carnevale Venezia

To book tickets for balls and parties contact the Premium Europe team on welcome@mypremiumeurope.com