Up until 9 February, St. Marks will once more become an 18th-century square, a one-of-a-kind place where artisan workshops produce amazing costumes. Then, from the 11th to the 28th, the city will come alive with parades, concerts, performances and grand balls. Get ready to join in the fun!
Festa Veneziana sull'Acqua
Festivities start on Saturday, 11 February with the Festa Veneziana sull’Acqua, a performance of lights and sound held on the banks of Cannaregio. The show is repeated on 12 February.
Twelve Marys' Day
Saturday 18 February is the day dedicated to the ‘Twelve Marys’, an ancient tradition that involves choosing the most beautiful costumed girl. In olden days, a young woman of the people won a marriage dowry, but today the lucky winner has the honour of being crowned the ‘Angel’ of next year’s Carnival.
Starting of the contest for the Most Beautiful Mask
The first contest for the ‘most beautiful mask’ kicks off in St. Mark’s Square. The contest is open to anyone wishing to parade their mask on the stage set up in the square (although participation is free, contestants are required to download and complete the form available online at www.carnevale.venezia.it, which also provides detailed information regarding all Carnival activities). This contest takes place several times a day throughout the Carnival period.
The Top Event: Flight of the Angel
The ‘Volo dell’Angelo’ (Flight of the Angel), one of Carnival’s most eagerly awaited events, takes places on Sunday 19 February at midday, when a young girl wearing traditional costume ‘flies’ from the top of St. Mark’s bell tower to a stage on the opposite side of the square. The girl, who is strapped to a safety harness, is welcomed in total silence by crowds, often numbering as many as 80,000 revelers, who have gathered in the square to watch the event.
Suggested Family Activity: Secrets of Venice
From 18 to 28 February
Visitors can participate in the ‘Secrets of Venice’ event, a travelling show for the whole family, featuring several performances a day in Italian, English and French, chronicling the history of Carnival. Tickets: €29. Info at www.venice-carnival.org.
Grand Finale of the Most Beautiful Mask Contest
Qualifications for the grand finale, scheduled to be held on Sunday 26 February, take place from 23 to 25 February. The winner is nominated by those gathered in the square, guaranteeing fun and entertainment for everyone. Non-competitive parades continue after the grand finale until Shrove Tuesday with two events dedicated to children on the 27th, and one dedicated to adults on the 28th.
Flight of the Eagle
A video of the 2014 edition of the Flight of the Eagle
After enjoying the success of the Flight of the Angel, starting from Venice Carnival 2012 the organising committee has decided to introduce the ‘Flight of the Eagle’, traditionally happening one week after the Flight of the Angel and featuring similar dynamics. Important personalities in sport, cinema and music usually take central stage in this celebration disguised like one of the most beloved characters of Venice’s carnival: Pulcinella.
Traditional Carnival Balls
From 18 to 28 February
Participating to one of the sumptuous Carnival Balls could be the best way to enjoy the festive atmosphere. For the 2017 edition, locals and foreign visitors are spoilt for choice, as they can choose between ‘The Gallery of Wonders’ at Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, ‘Il Ballo del Doge’, the ‘Casanova Grand Ballo’, the ‘Mascheranda’, the ‘Tiepolo’, the ‘Carnival in Love’ ball, the ‘Minuetto Gran Gala’, the ‘Carnival Extravaganza’ and the ‘Minuetto al Ridotto’, as well as the ‘Ultimo Valzer a Venezia’.