Top 5 Activities During Venice Carnival

Top 5 Activities During Venice Carnival

Here are our top 5 activities during Venice Carnival 2019

The Venice Carnival is almost upon us! It begins on the 17th of February this year, so there’s still plenty of time for last-minute revellers to book flights and accommodation. If you need the final push to organise your trip to the 2019 Venice Carnival, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’d like to outline our top 5 activities during Venice Carnival 2019. This blog post isn’t just here to convince people to book a last-minute trip to Venice for the Carnival, we also hope it’ll help anyone who has already booked to plan which events they’d like to attend.

1) Festa Veneziana — Sunday February 17th from 10.30am

On Sunday the 17th of February, the Venice Carnival officially begins. And it starts with a flourish as dozens upon dozens of boats, elaborately decorated, sailing along the Grand Canal, towards the Cannaregio district. Masked Venetians, dressed in stunning costumes man the boats and they also parade through the streets of Venice. This is the biggest spectacle of the carnival and it’s a must see for anyone who wants the authentic carnival experience. Expect a staggering array of decorated boats, costumed revellers, and incredible live music.

2) Festa delle Marie Parade — Starts Saturday February 23rd

Think of the Festa delle Marie Parade as a historically accurate re-enactment of a traditional Venetian beauty contest that dates as far back as the 9th century. The Festa delle Marie traditionally took place on the 2nd of February; 12 of the most beautiful women from poor families in Venice were chosen to take part in the event. They were dressed in decadent clothes and jewellery and the contest was designed to help one of them win a considerable dowry from the Doge. One year, during the event, pirates invaded Venice and kidnapped the bejewelled maidens; the people of Venice worked together and managed to retrieve the women (and the jewels) and they credited the Madonna (Marie) for helping them. The Festa delle Marie was thus cemented in Venetian culture.

While the idea of dowries and marriage has changed significantly since the 9th century, it’s still nice to get dressed up and enjoy the pageantry, so the modern-day Festa delle Marie is a fun-filled beauty pageant where an honoured guest (instead of the Doge) chooses the winner. If you like beautiful dresses and historical re-enactments, then we can absolutely recommend the Festa delle Marie parade. The first one is on Saturday the 23rd of February, but there are several other parades over the following days. If you can only attend one, we recommend the first parade!

3) Take a Secrets Venice Carnival and Casanova Tour

People all over the world are attracted to the Venice Carnival for different reasons. Many are excited by the carnival goers’ masks, and Venetians’ history of wearing masks to conceal their identities, freeing themselves to get up to all kinds of mischief. And the Venetian historical figure most famous for mischief is Giacomo Casanova. This enigmatic, rebellious man gained considerable notoriety for his romantic exploits and the Venice Carnival is the best time to take a walking tour of Venice that focuses on the true stories beneath the myths. This Secrets of Casanova tour will give you plenty of insight into the history of the Venice Carnival and into the real man behind the legend. To make sure you have a fully immersive experience, we strongly suggest that you come dressed in full costume, or with a Venetian cape and mask combo! If you need to hire a costume, visit our Venice Carnival costume hire service.

4) The Best Mask Contest — Thursday the 24th of February

The Best Mask Contest is a lot of fun. It’s essentially a huge competition to find the person with the best Venetian mask. Some people take this very seriously and they make some of the most incredible masks you’ve ever seen. It’s free to take part in the contest, but you have to submit an application ahead of time, so don’t leave it too late. The contest takes part from 3.30pm to 5.00pm every day, with the first contest taking place on the 24th of February and several other contests taking place until the grand finale on Sunday the 3rd of March. This is the perfect option if you want to admire the best possible Venetian masks and enjoy the cheerful atmosphere. If you want to learn even more about masks, check out our guide to Venetian masks.

5) Mascheranda Grand Ball — Sunday 3rd of March

When most people think of the Venice Carnival, they imagine a decadent masked ball with glamourous guests, full Venetian costume, and an assortment or ornate masks. There is no masked ball to equal the annual Mascheranda Grand Ball, which takes place at the end of the Carnival, on the 3rd of March. As if the event wasn’t decadent enough, it takes place at the Palazzo Pisani Moretta, which looks out over the Grand Canal. The annual Mascheranda Grand Ball might be the most elaborate ball you’ve ever been to and it’s the perfect way to end your once-in-a-lifetime Venice Carnival experience.

We hope this blog post has inspired a few readers to take the plunge and book a trip to Venice for the Carnival. It’s a wonderful time of year to be in Venice and we’re incredibly excited to welcome people from all over the world. If you have any questions about the Carnival, or you’re interested in one of our many Venice walking tours, please feel free to get in touch. It’s not too late to start planning your 2019 Venice Carnival trip!