Let's explore the complete schedule of events of the Venice Carnival!
In fact, this time of the year encloses some of the most popular events of the Venetian calendar.
Year after year thousands of tourists and visitors arrive in Venice to admire the beautifully and richly masked people strolling around the magnificent city by the lagoon. Many of them will themselves wear the most exquisite and refined costumes when walking through Venice.
It's a truly magical moment that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.
In order that you get the most out of your visit, we have prepared this guide with the complete schedule of Venice Carnival 2023 events and also some hints and advice from our local point of view.
The complete list of the events of Venice Carnival 2023
Before we start, do you know when the Carnival is celebrated in Venice?
The Carnevale di Venezia has almost 1000 years of history.
At some point (but maybe we will talk about this in a later article) the celebration has been banished (like at the time of Fascism) or it has been less intriguing and memorable (like after Napoleon, when the Serenissima Republic no longer existed).
However, nowadays the celebration of the Carnival is more sparkling and fascinating than ever.
Let's find out the complete schedule of events of the Venetian Carnival 2023!
The grand opening with a great water parade
Every year, the Carnival begins with an outstanding evening show which takes place on the water.
So, also in 2023, the first event which will officially open the Pre- Carnival celebration is the so-called Festa Veneziana sull'Acqua. It literally means the "Venetian party on the water".
On Saturday February 4th, in fact, the Rio di Cannaregio will host this magical parade where so many floating structures will perform the true meaning of the Venetian Carnival on the water.
This very first show is free and it usually has two replicas, lasting from 7 to 10 PM (first show at 7 while the second show is usually at 9).
On the next day, the Venetian boats Carnival takes place
The following day (in 2023 it will be on Sunday February 5th) is time for the second part of the Venetian party on the water.
The new parade starts in the morning at 10.45 when all the boats gather in front of the Dogana da Mar, next to the Santa Maria della Salute church.
The procession along the Grand Canal starts approximately at 11.15 and lasts 30 minutes: it ends in the Cannaregio district at the bridge of Tre Archi.
The Venetian Carnival can now start!
It begins: the full schedule of events of Venice Carnival
We are ready to jump in the middle of the events of the Venice Carnival.
In the following weeks, in fact, many traditional events and celebrations take place. Some of them are famous all over the world and are shown on TV.
The Feast of the Maries ("la Festa delle Marie")
In 2023, the Feast of the Maries will take place on Saturday February 11th.
This is the historical re-enactment of a celebration that usually took place from the IX century till the XIV.
In fact, there was the tradition to bless the 12 poorest and most beautiful girls of marriageable age inside the Church of San Pietro di Castello. They were dressed with beautiful dresses and covered with rich jewels lent by the main churches of the city.
Nowadays, you can go to San Pietro di Castello to watch at 2.30 PM the 12 girls parade. The parade continues in Via Garibaldi, Riva degli Schiavoni and arrives in St Mark's Square at 4 PM.
However, on this day, from 9 AM to 5 PM you can also watch the Carnival Costumes' Show in Saint Mark's.
On the next day, the famous Volo dell'Angelo
2023 UPDATE: The event will not take place in Piazza San Marco!
On Sunday February 12th you should also stay in Piazza San Marco to witness all the most important events of Carnival.
During the day not only you can watch the Costumes' Show, but also the Costume Contest at 11 AM.
However, the most important part of the day takes place at 12 AM and it is the Volo dell'Angelo (in English, Flight of the Angel), from St Mark's Bell Tower. Could you imagine it?
The girl that the day before won the title of "Maria" (the most beautiful of the 12 Maries) actually flies down the Bell Tower.
The show is one of the most thrilling of the entire Carnival. We can say that this is the official opening of the celebrations!
On the following days, in fact, you can come to Saint Mark's square any day and you will assist to costumes' shows and contests.
That's the true heart of the Carnival, something so magical that you actually cannot resist!
The following week: another iconic Flight from the Bell Tower
On Sunday February 19th, there is another special event taking place.
It's not part of the tradition because it's actually very recent: anyway, it attracts thousands of visitors!
It's the Flight of the Eagle (Volo dell'Aquila) and it is a show quite similar to the Flight of the previous week. However, the "Eagle" is usually embodied by famous people (sports champions, TV characters and so on).
Last day of Carnival: the "Svolo del Leon"
On Shrove Tuesday (February 21st), it's time for the last event of the Carnival.
The Svolo del Leon (Flight of the Lion, in English) from the St Mark's Bell Tower officially ends the celebration. At the end of the flight, the Lion is welcomed by the 12 Maries.
The Lion is not a random choice: in fact, the animal represents the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
The private parties and events of the Venice Carnival
As you may know, many of the events of the Carnival are private.
You have probably heard about the dreamy masked balls that are set inside the elegant Venetian palaces.
The scenic Cà Vendramin Calergi, with a spectacular view of the Grand Canal, hosts a Carnival dinner and a great party with live music and performances all night long.
Many hotels also organize rich and special events, like the famous Hotel Danieli, perfect for those who are looking for something lavishly gorgeous.
If you are seeking something more traditional, with classical music and the possibility to dance as many valzer as you have ever imagined, there is also the annual masquerade ball, called, Ballo Tiepolo, hosted inside the Pisani Moretta Palace on Fat Thursday.
Now that you have read all the info about the daily schedule of the Carnival of Venice 2023, it's time to share our (local) advice.
How to explore the Venetian Carnival: some info and tips from a local point of view
Venice Carnival could be one of the greatest moments of your life or one of the most challenging.
As a matter of fact, Venice streets are more crowded than ever and if you are not particularly into this kind of big events, it could be difficult to experience the Carnival properly.
So here are some (local) tips to enjoy the biggest event in the city.
1) First of all, remember that climate change is a great issue. Do not bring with you plastic confetti, but only paper ones (that's also a municipality law).
2) Try to avoid the most crowded streets and places. Anywhere in Venice the Carnival is celebrated and you can see great costumes in every corner of the city.
3) As Venice is very crowded during Carnival, it is possible that you have to stand in line a lot before entering bars, restaurants or public transport. It is something that you literally can't avoid at this time of the year.
What can we suggest to you? You certainly shoudl plan ahead for anything you can. Not only the hotels, but also the tickets to the events (like the masquerade balls or the opera), the tickets to the museums and of course the restaurants.
It is certainly the best thing to do, in order that you can enjoy your days in Venice as peacefully as possible.
If you want to get some ideas on what to do in Venice, besides Carnival, just check out itinerary samples!
We hope to see you soon!