2017’s Venice Carnival begins very soon, running from the 11th of February until the 28th. It is the world’s premier celebration of the masquerade, and is an absolute must for anyone who wants the true carnival experience. Balls, parades, exhibitions and numerous other events will be running throughout the city for just over two weeks, with costumed revellers around every corner. If you’re looking for a getaway or city break in the next month, then this absolutely must be at the top of your list. Read on to find out the essentials.
Fortunately, even though we’re only a few weeks out, flights to Venice are not overly expensive, even for this popular time of year, regardless of where you are in the country. Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and several of the London airports offer flights directly to Venice for less than £150 return per person over a weekend. And if you’re willing to be flexible in your dates and airports, you can easily pay half of that. Do note however, that as with many major European cities, Venice has two airports. VCE is the best, as it’s just a few miles from the city, but TSF (Treviso Airport), which is used primarily by budget airlines, is almost 20 miles away. There are shuttle buses between TSF and central Venice, but do bear in mind the additional time and cost when planning.
Accommodation prices will vary depending on which time of the month you decide to visit. There is a premium to pay towards the back end of the carnival due to demand, but fortunately, given the size of Venice, you can pay pretty much whatever you like. If you’re willing to use public transport to get into the center, and don’t require the highest of luxuries, you can pay around £100 per night. If you want a modern hotel in the centre of town, then budget for about £250 per night. Of course, being Venice, there are a suitable number of absolutely stunning hotels that fit perfectly with the luxury carnival theme. If you want a luxurious retreat, then there’s plenty to choose from.
There are quite literally dozens of events on during the festival period, with most of them listed nicely on the carnival’s official site, which you can find here. Note that many of the events happen multiple times to give more people a chance to attend, so even if you can only make it to Venice for a day or two, there’ll still be something for you to enjoy.
The Festa Venezia and Festa Delle Marie are two of the most popular events to attend, with the former being one of the most spectacular events of the whole celebration. Hundreds of boats will take to the water, crewed by those in full masked Venetian garb, while thousands of onlookers gaze at the regatta. It’s quite a sight to behold, and is thoroughly recommended to anyone who will be able to make the trip to Venice on the 11th or 12th of February.
The Volo dell’Angelo (flight of the angel) is another great event, which sees a beauty pageant winner zip-line over the crowds in St. Marks’ square.
Aside from the major events, there will also be numerous parades, street shows, and of course competitions to find the very best masks and outfits this year. If the masks and costumes are your focus, then don’t miss at least one of the competitions, which are held in stages every few days.
In addition to the major public events, there are also lots and lots of other parties, balls and dinner show that you can attend. We’d thoroughly recommend taking part in an authentic masquerade ball if you can, as they give you the very best experience. Tickets aren’t always cheap, and it’s a good idea to get them beforehand – if you go to Venice expecting to be able to just turn up to a ball on the day, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be disappointed.
Fortunately, it’s very straightforward – tickets can easily be bought online (in English) in advance from a variety of vendors, and lots of major balls are set up to accommodate international visitors.
If you’re just going to soak up the atmosphere and watch the parades, then there’s no need to pack anything special. If however, you’re going to Venice to experience everything that the carnival has to offer (which in our opinion is the only way!), then you’ll want to join the locals in the fun. There are of course plenty of masks for you to choose from on our site, and as they’re all authentically made in Italy, you can be sure that you’re going to fit in with everyone else at the event. Pick whichever one you want – there are no rules at the public events, and the extravagant is perfectly normal. When you get to Venice, you can always purchase a cape or other accessories to go with your mask if you’re not going in full garb.
If you’re going to attend one of the ticketed balls, then it’s a very good idea for you to check if there’s a dress code before you buy your mask and outfit. This will both help you pick and make sure you’re in keeping with the theme. As with masks, it’s a good idea for you to buy your outfit in advance – while there are many, many shops in Venice, there’s nothing worse than the pressure of having to find something. We’ve also got a blog on the subject of what to wear, which you can read here.
If you’ve got any further questions about what to wear to this year’s Venice Carnival, or what to expect, then don’t hesitate to drop us an email, and we’ll see if we can help!