Venice, one of the world’s most evocative cities, becomes an even more desirable destination to visit every winter with the decadent Venice Carnival. Dating back as far as 1162, the Carnival is a celebration of this unique city’s rich history and culture, with a number of unmissable events over a 2-and-a-half-week period.
The incredible experience, which ends when the Christian celebration of Lent begins, will take place between the 17th February and the 5th March in 2019. Visiting the city during carnival is a great opportunity to see it come alive as it hosts dinners, masked balls, and a range of exciting and enthralling cultural events.
In this post, we’ve rounded up the most important information that you need to know for your unforgettable trip to the floating city’s carnival in 2019.
If you are in Venice in this period, do not miss these events, and also our great walking tours discovering the city and its main attractions.
For those travelling to Venice by air, the closest airport is Venice Marco Polo, offering international flights to and from the rest of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. European tourists can also enter Italy overland and take a train to Venezia Santa Lucia Railway Station.
The Railway Station Santa Lucia is located immediately after the bridge connecting Venice to the mainland. There are several high speed trains every day arriving in Venice from the main Italian cities, such as Milan, Rome, Florence.
We provide several transfer solutions in Venice:
From Marco Polo Airport to the city centre by water taxi:
- Private transfer
- Shared transfers
From the Railway Station to the centre or lido:
- Private transfer
- Shared transfer
The official ball is way more than just dinner and a chance to wear a mask. This year’s the first official ball, on February the 23rd, will be where fine Venetian dining means an unforgettable and exquisite party, and if you have a chance to take part in this exclusive event, it will live forever in your memory. But what’s so special about it? Well, first of all there’s the splendid location. The ball will be hosted in the renaissance rooms of the Palazzo Ca’Vendramin Calergi overlooking the beautiful Grand Canal.
While you dine on the city’s delicious and varied gastronomy, several performers will visit your table, enchanting you with artistic and inspirational entertainment. This isn’t like the street entertainment that you’ll find in the tourist restaurants found in many European cities – this entertainment oozes class and sophistication.
For more information on this unforgettable night of entertainment and fine dining, check out the official Carnival's website.
The perfect event for those who just love to be the centre of attention! It’s a good idea to have your mask prepared early on, as the daily Best Mask Contest starts just over a week into the carnival, on February 24th. Each day, the contestants parade around on the San Marco stage showing off their masks, costumes, feathers, wigs, and caps. For the more competitive exhibitionists, enter the contests between the 28th Feburary and the 2nd March – the winners of these heats will get a spot in the grand final on March 3rd. There’s also a competition for kids on March 4th.
Participation doesn’t cost a cent, and you’re sure to get some amazing pictures and memories, whether you’re a competitor or an audience member. For more information, and to download the entry forms, check out this link.
A one-time only event each year, taking place on the morning of the 24th February, the flight of the angel is one of the highlights of the Venice Carnival. Harking back to the Serenissima period, a mystery Venetian resident (ideally one who doesn’t suffer from vertigo), is transported along a rope from the San Marco bell tower, which is 99m tall, to the centre of the square.
When the angel lands, she is greeted by actors dressed in period costumes before offering an homage to the doge. The embrace of the doge and the angel is greeted by a happy crowd, cheering, applauding, and soaking up the happy atmosphere in the square. This year, the angel will be Erika Chia – the winner of last year’s Festa della Marie. The Marie are 12 young Venetian women who take part in the Svolo del Leon, the farewell ceremony on the last day of the Carnival. You can find out more about that below.
Many of the events of the Venice Carnival take place in Piazza San Marco, one of the most iconic images of the city. Because there’s so much happening there, it’s easy to forget that the festival takes place across the whole city. And Venice is a big place! There are 118 islands in the lagoon, connected by 400 foot bridges and 170 canals. Why not use some of those canals to get to Burano?
Burano, located to the northeast of San Marco and San Polo, is famous for its picturesque multi-coloured houses and many eateries serving delicious and freshly caught seafood from the lagoon. During the carnival, Burano also hosts its own events, which are definitely worth taking a trip for. There’s live music, costume parades for both adults and children, and several parades, including the “Majorette parade”.
Burano is anyway a must see in Venice, with its colourful houses, so we suggest you to take our half day trip going to Murano, Burano and Torcello departing from Venice.
The “Svolo de Leon”, or “flight of the lion” will close 2019’s Venice Carnival, as it does every year. It will take place in Piazza San Marco and is a farewell to the magnificent event – until next year’s carnival – which will take place from the 8th to the 25th February.
The event is a tribute to Venice’s symbolic lion, and sees the Venetian flag hoisted to the top of San Marco’s campanile, watched by the thousands of spellbound members of the audience in the square down below. On the stage in the square, 12 young Venetian women, called the Marie will be on stage to greet the lion.
This emotional ritual is the perfect end to the carnival and your trip to Venice.