“Il Carnevale di Venezia”: a bit of history
The first traces of the Carnival of Venice go back to the 10th century. This flamboyant event sees the Serenissima inhabitants celebrate in joy and abundance the last days before Lent. Venetian people of all social classes dress up, from simple masks to the most expensive ball gowns. The Carnival is a time of freedom during which anybody may dress up as any character: doctor, lawyer, swindler… The most famous remain characters of the Italian commedia dell'arte though – like Harlequin, Pulcinella or Scaramuccia. This great celebration survived through the years and consecutive political regimes; it has become a hallmark for the inhabitants and the city's tradition.
Water: the city's finest jewel
Traditionally, the Carnival starts on water around the Cannaregio Canal. It's one of the major and best-known inland waterways in Venice. Bustling with activity, it is crossed by a couple of historic bridges: the Ponte delle Guglie (“Bridge of Spires”) and the Ponte dei Tre Archi (« Bridge of the Three Arches »).
Saturday 11th February, 18:00
Lovers of nocturnal wonders, prepare for an unforgettable evening show on the Canal.
Sunday 12th February, 11:00
If you're keen on a day out, take the boat to witness the Carnival of Venice. The tour starts at the church of Santa Maria della Salute and finishes at the Ponte dei Tre Archi, on the Cannaregio Canal.
Slip into the Marias parade
The Marias parade is one of the oldest Venetian customs. In days of old, twelve couples would be blessed to mark the purification of the Virgin Mary, in the course of a religious celebration held in the Cathedral of San Pietro di Castello. In 946, pirates abducted the twelve women and pillaged the cathedral – a group hunted them down and managed to save the ladies. Ever since, this victory has been celebrated by a parade: twelve Marias surrounded by period costumed extras and musicians, marching from the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello towards St Mark's Square. A good opportunity to walk in the city and go exploring legendary places.
Saturday 18th February, 14:30
Starts at the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello, passes through Via Garibaldi and along St Mark's Basin, all the way to St Mark's Square.
Costume contests and parades give the Carnival its tempo
During the whole Carnival, costume contests are held in St Mark's Square between noon and 15:00. On the last day, Tuesday 28th February, come and witness the best costumes parade – an unforgettable moment, in one of the most gorgeous squares of the world.
Every day from 12:00 to 15:00
Tuesday 28th February, best costumes parade at 12:00 and 14:30
Find a bit of intimacy at Oltre il Gardino
Pass the threshold and enter a garden of olive trees and magnolias. Here, you'll find the timeless quietness that seduced Alma Mahler, former spouse of famous composer Gustav Mahler. With the same kind of devotion for the place, the owners have decided to transform the house into a charming, magical, secret hotel and bringing you peace of mind and tranquility whilst in the heart of the city.
Ten intimate, elegant and refined rooms are available in this place steeped in history. You'll be ready to fully enjoy the festivities organised during the Carnival season.
Oltre il Gardino Hotel
San Polo, 2542
30100 Venezia, Italie
+39 041 275 0015
Hotel Cipriani: its sweet and green “mask”
To carry on with your daydreaming, your next stop is the Hotel Cipriani, one of the most luxurious in town. Nested in a park, it features spacious and comfortable rooms with a view on the green environment, filled with cypress and rosemary.
Tel : +39 (0)41 24 0801
Room from 590 EUR
Da Fiore: unmask the better cuisine from Venice
Run by Mara and Maurizio for 35 years, the restaurant puts forward a quality Italian cuisine in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere. Formal dress is required – with or without mask. This is a popular place, so be sure to book your table!
San Polo 2002
Tél. : +39 (041) 721308
Far from the madding crowd: escape for a romantic dinner
Set sail to the island of Mazzorbo. Hidden amidst the vineyards stands the Venissa Ristorante & Ostello. This Michelin 1-star restaurant offers an absolutely succulent cuisine – the perfect place for a romantic dinner.
Venissa Ristorante & Ostello
Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3
30142 Mazzorbo, Venezia
+39 041 527 2281