Here you will find all the events that take place in Venice and nearby during the winter and spring seasons. This list include: exhibitions, events, festivals – and also features events related to local folklore and sport.
January, 23th – February, 9th
Arts and Trades are the protagonists in this year’s Carnival. Live for the public in St. Mark’s Square – Mask makers, weavers, tailors and glass-makers in their 18th century Venetian workshops. Their most minute or delicate activities will be amplified on a big screen set up in the Square. Actors and masks will emphasize the important moments and phases during artisan activities; the groundwork used to transmit the message that arts and traditions in Venice, are real, unchanged over the centuries, and still present in the city. The St. Mark’s Square backdrop will be a frame to a giant living canvas with masks, costumes, and cloths, where the arts of the trades are framed by bursts of a gone-by Venetian life, where theatre and music alternate until a final triumph.
Together with the mainland, where the Carnival will spread, and celebrations become a showcase exhibiting long traditions of Venetian life, even Calli and Campi in Venice will become places for musical and theatrical events. While preparations and re-enactments once again, present Venice’s relationship with arts and trades at the Arsenale, the “factory” par excellence.
Theme-based itineraries, special openings, temporary exhibitions, and iconographic itineraries will be offered, thanks to collaborating museums and cultural institutions.
Su e Zo (“Up and Down the Bridges” walk)
Su e Zo, the “Up and Down the Bridges” walk, is a spring event that involves thousands of people in a walk for solidarity around Venice’s alleys and byways: young and not-so-young people, families, school groups, sports teams, all together in a day devoted to meeting, friendship and solidarity.
St Mark’s Day
St Mark’s day falls on 25 April. On this day Venice celebrates St Mark, the patron saint of the city. On the same day Italy celebrates its freedom from war and Fascist and Nazi oppression. Many religious celebrations take place in St Mark’s Basilica – and a picturesque procession with the most important religious and civil authorities of Venice starts from St Mark’s Square. The day is also famous for the tradition of giving a “bocolo”, or rosebud, to the women you love.
The Sensa Festival
The Sensa (Ascension Day) Festival was celebrated by the Venetian Republic on the day of Christ’s Ascension. Sensa is the Venetian dialect word for Ascension. It commemorates two important events in the life of the Republic: one on 9 May in the year 1000, when Doge Pietro Orseolo II came to the rescue of the inhabitants of Dalmatia, who were under the Slav menace. The second event took place in 1177, when, in the reign of Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Pope Alexander III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa signed a peace treaty in Venice that put an end to the century-long conflict between the Papacy and the Empire. The rite of the Marriage of the Doge to the Sea used to take place on the occasion of the Ascension Day Festival. Every year on that day the Doge, on his state barge, the Bucintoro, sailed to Sant’Elena, near the church San Pietro di Castello. The Patriarch, in his own gilded barge, waited there to bless him. To emphasise the Serenissima’s dominion over the sea, the Festival culminated with a kind of propitiatory rite: the Doge sailed to the channel between the lagoon and the sea and threw a gold ring into the water.
This year sees the 40th Vogalonga, Venice’s great regatta. Known as one of the most spectacular events of the Venetian season, the Vogalonga, held on Sunday 24 May, embodies the most genuine lagoon spirit. It is also the undisputed queen (with the Historic regatta) of all the rowing regattas, even though formally it differs substantially from them, due to its non-competitive character. Two thousand participants unite in true Corinthian spirit to face a 32 kilometre marathon through the incomparable scenario of the lagoon and its islands. It is thanks to them, in addition to the Cannaregio Canal and the entire Grand Canal and the Basin of St. Mark (where the departure kicks off) that it is possible to experience the sheer emotion and physical exertion of these oarsmen from all over the world. They set off around 9am next to the Punta della Dogana, with the classic cannon-shot heralding the start.