Venice Carnival is one of the most popular events in the Venetian calendar and it’s easy to see why. Mystery, elegance, and history come together, inviting visitors on an exciting journey through the streets and canals of Venice to partake in this historic event.
But before you jet off, here is your guide to Venice Carnival. From where the event began to where you can get the best views, it’s time to lace up your exploring shoes and head into Venice Carnival, where history and art meet on the streets of the city of masks.
What is Venice Carnival?
Venice Carnival was first documented in 1094, making it one of the oldest festivals in the world. It began as a catholic tradition to let off steam and celebrate before the start of Lent, which includes 40 days of sacrifice and fasting before Easter.
The masks offered a way for everyone in Venice to partake in celebrations without judgment or prejudice. From the baker to the wealthy aristocrat, everyone could partake in the festivities together.
Today, Venice Carnival is one of the biggest draws to the city. While not as many regal balls as before, there is lots to see and do. From taking in the gorgeous period costumes that roam through the historic streets to experiencing a parade on the canals, everyone can enjoy this historic event.
For a luxury Venice holiday that is close to all the action, Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal offers elegance and history to make your Venice Carnival experience even more authentic. This stunning hotel puts you within walking distance of St Mark's Square with incredible views of the canals. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the beautiful boat parades throughout the festival, lighting up the waterways. The hotel's private boat landing also provides access to scenic gondola rides and river taxis during one of the busiest periods in Venice.
If you want to explore the city by water, Citalia’s Grand Canal Boat Tour will take you on a historic exploration through the canals, visiting some prime locations, including Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal.
Parades, Masks, and Parties
There is no doubt that most of the action over Venice Carnival takes place at Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square). Here, you can wander through the crowds adorned with masks and period costumes.
To put yourself right in the centre of Venice Carnival, Londra Palace Venezia is a five-star luxury hotel located a mere 500 metres from the famous square. Here, you can relax in the lap of luxury with extraordinary service, modern amenities, historical charm, and first-class dining. The private boat landing also makes getting around simple and stress-free.
Foodies are in for a treat while visiting Piazza San Marco with a myriad of top restaurants inviting you to enjoy the local delicacies. Frittelle is a sweet pastry made throughout Venice Carnival and pairs beautifully with a Bellini as you watch the extraordinary costumes stroll by.
For a truly authentic Italian food extravaganza, Citalia’s Bacaro and Cicchetti Evening Food Tour takes you on a walking tour of some of the best Venice bacaros. The local guide will take you on a short stroll through the city with incredible flavours along the way. Try the aromatic cicchetti along with small glasses of organic house wines. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the friendly locals and learn about the best the city has to offer, away from the tourist hotspots.
Where to find your Venice Carnival Mask
Venice is bustling during the carnival, so it’s best to organise your costume before the festivities begin. The city is home to some of the best ateliers in the world. Luckily, you can organise a costume to rent long before the Venice Carnival begins. From gorgeous gowns with hair pieces that ascend to the heavens to long dark capes creating a pyramid of mystery, the costumes from traditional ateliers in Venice are exquisite.
If dressing up in a full costume isn’t your style, then grab a mask at one of the many stands in Piazza San Marco. While not fully indulging, you can still be part of the action.
History lovers, Venice is full of tales of days gone by. From the incredible architecture to the many museums, you’re in for a treat. Citalia’s St. Mark’s Square, The Basilica and the Doge's Palace walking tour takes you on a history-filled adventure to some of the must-see attractions. The experienced tour guide is there to answer any of your burning questions as you explore the stunning art, architecture, and monuments.
To make your Venice Carnival experience all the more special, add another must-visit destination to your trip. Citalia’s Venice, Florence and Rome multi-centre holidays take you on a ten-day adventure. Starting in Venice, experience the romance and elegance of the festival before heading to Florence, where art comes to life. Then it’s off to Rome to explore the wondrous history of the Colosseum and other spectacular sites.
Discover the Real Italy with Citalia
Are you ready to experience the Venice Carnival? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape!
Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure. Andiamo!
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Read more: Most luxurious Italy holidays
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