1. 15th - 16th Feb Opening WeekendA 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 MarieThis 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’AngeloAn 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 CompetitionEvery 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 LeonThe 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