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Venice Cultural Events and Festivals

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals

Introduction

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals – Venice is a visually stunning city, but it also has a rich cultural calendar, with festivals, concerts, and special religious observations nearly year-round. While the pre-lenten festival of Carnevale is Venice’s most famous annual event, every month sees something going on in the Lagoon City.

Below is a month-to-month list highlighting the most important events during the year.

January in Venice

New Year’s Day is quiet in Venice after the late-night celebrations. On January 6, Epiphany and la Befana are celebrated as they are everywhere in Italy but with a unique touch, La Regatta delle Befane. This marks the end of the Christmas and year-end celebrations in Italy, as kids go back to school and everyone returns to work after La Befana.

The Feast of the Epiphany, an important post-Christmas date on the Christian calendar, is celebrated on January 6 as a national holiday in Italy. The tradition of La Befana, who arrives on the Epiphany, plays a big part in Italian Christmas celebrations. The holiday also marks the end of Christmas and New Year’s festivities in Italy, after which children go back to school, adults go back to work, and the Christmas decorations come down.  Strictly from a religious standpoint, the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the twelfth day of Christmas, when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. But for Italian children, it’s the day when they finally get their holiday loot.

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals
Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : The good witch Befana

Italy’s traditional holiday celebration includes the tale of a witch known as La Befana who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5th with toys and sweets for the good children and lumps of coal for the bad ones. According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the Baby Jesus’ manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. A shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.

February in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals
Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Carnevale

Events for Carnevale, Italy’s mardi gras, start a couple of weeks before the actual date of Shrove Tuesday, so a carnival theme dominates the city in February. You’ll see Venetians everywhere in elaborate masks and costumes, and may be tempted to join in yourself. Venice Carnevale is Italy’s top Carnival, or Mardi Gras, celebration. Carnevale season lasts about two weeks, culminating on the day of Carnival (called Martedi Grasso, or Fat Tuesday, in Italian). The weekend before Fat Tuesday usually sees the most parties and events, but during all of Carnevale season, the city of Venice is abuzz with costumed characters, street performers, scheduled concerts and entertainment, boat parades, and food stalls. Even if you don’t attend any of the parties or fancy masquerade balls, it’s definitely a fun time to visit—that is, if you can deal with the crowds and high-season prices.

Nota Bene: Venice Carnevale celebrations will be celebrated in its traditional form, from February 19 to March 1, 2022.

March in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Easter time in Venice

Either Carnevale or Easter falls in March so celebrations revolve around these holidays, with the week before Easter being one of the most important periods on the Italian calendar. March 8 is Women’s Day, Festa della Donna and March 19 is Saint Joseph’s Day, also celebrated as Father’s Day in Italy.

April in Venice

Easter sometimes falls in April, but the biggest day on the Venetian calendar is April 25, the feast day of Saint Mark, Venice’s patron saint. Events include a gondoliers’ regatta, commemorations at Saint Mark’s Basilica, and festivities in Saint Mark’s Square. On Saint Mark’s Day men give their wives or girlfriends the “bocolo,” the bloom of the red rose. April 25 is also Liberation Day, commemorating Italy’s liberation at the end of World War II.

May in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : The Festa della Sensa

May 1, Labor Day, is a national holiday when many people Italians tourist destinations. Venice is very crowded this day, and some museums will be closed. The Festa della Sensa, commemorating Venice’s marriage to the sea, takes place on the first Sunday after Ascension Day (40 days after Easter), followed by the Vogalonga, rowing race, the next weekend.

June in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : The Biennale Art Expo

June 2 is a national holiday for Republic Day. The Biennale Art Expo opens in June of odd-numbered years, but in even-numbered years, there are biennales dedicated to architecture, dance and other arts. Towards the end of June every year, there’s Art Night Venezia.

July in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Festa del Redentore

July’s biggest festival is the Festa del Redentore, commemorating the end of the plague in 1576. Events center around the beautiful Redentore church on Giudecca island, which is temporarily connected to the rest of Venice by a pontoon bridge.

August in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals
Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Ferragosto

The traditional start of the Italian summer holidays is August 15, Ferragosto, and during this month there are outdoor concerts and movies. The famous Venice Film Festival usually starts at the end of the month.  Ferragosto, or Assumption Day, is an ​Italian national holiday and holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. Celebrated on Aug. 15, Ferragosto is the height of the Italian vacation season. While many businesses in the larger cities may be closed, museums and tourist shops will be open and bustling.  Millions of Italians take their annual vacations in the two weeks before or after August 15, meaning highways, airports, train stations, and beaches will be packed to the gills. Around September 1, when Italians go back to work and kids get ready to return to school, businesses go back to regularly scheduled hours and practices.

September in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Venice Film Festival

September starts with the Historical Regatta, an exciting gondola race, and the Venice Film Festival is in full swing so you may run into some celebrities.

October in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : La Fenice

Opera season at La Fenice usually starts in October and you’ll find some events and parties for Halloween at the end of the month.

November in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : The Festa della Salute

November 1 is All Saints’ Day, a public holiday. The Festa della Salute, held on November 21, is another big festival celebrating the end of the plague, this time in 1631.

December in Venice

Venice Cultural Events and Festivals : Christmas time in Venice

The Christmas season starts December 8, a national holiday, and throughout the month you’ll find Christmas markets and events as well as Hanukkah events early in the month, mainly in the Jewish Ghetto. The big finale on New Year’s Eve takes place in Piazza San Marco, with a midnight fireworks show and lots of revelry.

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