The ultimate guide to the Carnival of Venice

The Carnival of Venice, which in the local language is called Carnevale di Venezia, is a celebration that started in the years of the Renaissance and today causes the city, to be flooded with visitors who live at a frantic pace.
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Venice needs no special introduction, as it is a very popular destination in Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is built on a lagoon with 118 islands. Canals separate the islands and bridges connect them. The gondoliers will take you on a tour of the fairytale water state with its unique architecture and the city will remain etched in your memories forever.

But there is another reason that makes the Italian city famous, and that is the Carnival of Venice, which in the local language is called Carnevale di Venezia. A celebration that started in the years of the Renaissance and today causes the city to be flooded with visitors, who live at a frantic pace, defying the cold that the last winter month has in store for them.

When is the Carnival in Venice?

This year, after 3 years of pandemic restrictions, celebrations return to their full schedule, with visitors from all over the world expected to come in and take part. So for 2023, it will start on Saturday, February the 4th and will end on February 21st, a day also known as "Fat Tuesday" (Martedi Grasso or Mardi Gras). At the Grand Finale, the last day of the carnival, the sky will be filled with thousands of fireworks, creating a unique atmosphere.

Mysterious participant in the Carnival of Venice

What do the celebrations involve?

The opening ceremony is also known as the Angel's Flight or Volo dell' Angelo. For it, the tradition requires that a woman disguises herself as an angel and descends by rope onto St. Mark's tent, right at the centerpiece of the events. During the carnival, there are many events, competitions and of course the costumes that you see in the photos every year, walk by you throughout the city. The Grand Opening is usually at 6pm, although a time schedule has yet to be finalised for this year. The second day, February 5 is the day of the Water Parade, where colorful boats pass from the Grand Canal to Cannaregio. On the 11th of the month, the competition for the Best Costume begins, in St. Mark's Square. The contestants parade on the imposing stage that is set up in the square. Participation is free, but you must register early, before the 11th of the month. Applications for participation can be found on the carnival website. The winner will be chosen by the audience and the judges and will be announced on the last day of the carnival.

The opening ceremony known as the "Angel's Flight"

Valentine's Day, on the 14th of the month, will see another special celebration take place in the Italian city, with events to be announced soon by the organization. At the same time, there are many parties, balls and luncheons, all connected to the carnival vibe. Many of these require tickets and invitations to enter (that are hard to find), with the Ballo del Doge being the most sought after one. If you finally find a ticket, be prepared to pay good money for it, but just know that you will live a once in a lifetime experience.

The Best Costume Competition in Venice seems to be very hard

Organize a trip to Venice for the 2023 Carnival

In recent years, before the pandemic put a stop to everything, the number of visitors to the carnival reached an incredible number close to 3 million! This means that you have to organize your trip to Venice well in advance. Start by looking at early booking offers for the Adriatic Sea at Let's Ferry. Travel by ship, rest in your cabin and take with you as much luggage as you need, so that you can achieve the carnival look that will get you in the competition. Be prepared for expensive accommodation, since Venice is not a low budget destination. But the earlier you book a room, the better the offer you will receive. You certainly don't have to wear a costume and you can move around comfortably in the style that makes you feel best. If you want to really get into the mood, you will find elaborate, theatrical masks in the local shops, but you can pay something extra and buy an authentic, handmade mask. Don't expect to see any sights, or take photos without a few thousand people lurking behind you, as the whole time the events last, the crowd is very large and there are usually parades around the canals.

During the "Ballo del Doge"

How did the Carnival of Venice begin?

The first records of one of the biggest carnivals in the world, that of Venice, were made in 1092, while some place it even earlier, during the 7th century. However, it was declared as a public event for the first time in 1296. The occasion for the celebrations was a victory of the "Peaceful Venetian Republic", as was the official name of Venice back then. Residents celebrated their victory with a ball in St. Mark's Square. The King of Austria declared it illegal and abolished it in 1797 but it came back nearly 200 years later to take its final shape in 1979.

The famous Water Parade

How do I get to the Venice Carnival?

It is one of the most beautiful ports in Italy and Europe in general. The Greek ports connected to Venice are Patras, Igoumenitsa and Corfu. Here at Let's Ferry you will find offers for early booking, you will see the available itineraries and you will check out prices for cabins, vehicle transfer, etc. Book your tickets to Venice by ferry and enjoy a special wintertime experience.

Don't miss the opportunity to experience one of the most famous and happiest events in the world. Consult the website of the Carnival of Venice to have the latest updates on timelines, days, areas where the events will take place and to complete any participation forms necessary, online. Viva Venezia!