Ultimate guide to Venice Carnival 2023 edition

Always one of the top ten world attractions, we are about to tell you about the Queen party of What to do in Venice : the “Carnevale di Venezia“.

We are certain that you already have heard about it… but are you sure you know the truth and story behind the carnival? We would like to tell you here about Carnival from the Venetian perspective. The shows in the historic center are really many, beautiful and spectacular, but often the real party is among the streets, in the squares, in the inns and especially in many of the Venetian palaces.

Mask yourself, mix with the crowd, taste fritole and galani (traditional sweets of the "Carnevale" held in Venice, Italy),arm yourself with confetti and follow the guide to Venice's most famous event

When is Carnival in Venice ?

The dates of Carnival change every year because they follow the liturgical calendar. Starting from about forty days before Easter you will already see some masks appearing, the streets covered with confetti and the pastry shops start serving carnival specialities.

But it is really 15 days before Ash Wednesday when the real party begins.

Venice Carnival 2023  will be from February 4th to February 21st.

Pay attention and keep an eye on the calendar when you are planning your break although more and more shows and parties are organized on Saturday nights, on Fat Thursday and shrove Tuesday (martedì grasso) are the days not to miss!

carnival Venic program

Venice carnival 2023

The program of events gets busier every year. Below we present the most important Carnival events but on the Official website of the Carnival you will find even more!

 

From the 11th to 21st of February

Venetian Water parade with decorated boat in Rio di Cannaregio

Sunday 5th of February

Grand opening : Venetian party on the water in the Cannaregio district - departure 11:15 am

Saturday the 11th February

Procession and Feast of the Marys, departure from San Piero di Castello at 2:30 p.m. and arrival in St. Mark's Square at 4 p.m.

Sunday the 12th February

flight of the angel - volo dell’angelo from the st mark’s bell tower  of piazza San Marco at 12.30 pm

Thursday 16 February

Fat thursday - Giovedì grasso

Sunday 19 February

flight of the eagle - volo dell’aquila  in Saint Mark's square at 12:00

Tuesday 21 February

Fat Tuesday - double appointment in St. Mark's Square with the flight of the lion and the final of the most beautiful mask contest

Keep an eye also on the programming of the Mestre Carnival Street show: jugglers, trampolines, theater, music and other street performers will liven up the center of Mestre in the two final weekends for a series of engaging shows suitable for all ages! The mainland of Venice celebrates carnival too!

ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE !

VENICE MASKED BALL

Discover the unique atmosphere of a Venetian masked ball to celebrate Carnival!

As a rule, this is a themed evening, and to participate you will have to follow the dress code as announced at the time of booking. The program includes various artistic performances, cocktails, dinner and finally an "after dinner party" with music.

These events are highly popular and often sell out months before the event.

Get ready for the complete program of the 2023 edition of the Venice Carnival private parties!

historical Costume atelier - Venice Carnival Theme Party

PRIVATE EVENTS 2023 CALENDAR

  • Saturday February 11, 2023
    • Casanova Mistery Ball
    • Ball of dreams
  • Friday February 17, 2023
    • Don Giovanni Carnival party
    • The Glass slippers
  • Saturday February 18, 2023
    • The Phantom of the Opera Carnival Party
    • "Carnival in Love" Venetian Serenade
    • "Il ballo del Doge"
  • Sunday February 19, 2023
    • Venetians reflections

Venice Carnival costumes

Typical Venetian Carnival Costumes date back to the second half of the 16th century. You can find faithful historical reproductions in Venice ateliers. Among the various types of costumes available, the most famous are the Costumes Commedia dell’Arte with characters of the traditional Italian theater like the great Venetian, Carlo Goldoni.

The 18th century Venice saw the greatest splendor of Venice and its historic Carnival and it is visible in the costumes of this period. The 18th century was the century of Carlo Goldoni, but also of Giacomo Casanova and of great painters such as GianBattista Tiepolo and Canaletto.

If you really want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the party it is absolutely essential to dress up. In fact, Carnival would not be the same without masks costumes and if people did not wear masks. Don’t be shy, get out of the house already prepared and dressed with wigs, swords, wings, cloaks and confetti: the party starts on the streets!

Costume - Venice Carnival Theme Party
masks1
must-see-venice

Venetian carnival masks

Colorful, fascinating, they are the result of a craft and artistic work that has evolved over hundreds of years. It comes to life with the ambition of offering the wearer the power to hide his or her name, social class, religion and any kind of social identification, in other words freedom!

Among the models of Venetian mask that  have entered the posterity, we find without fail :

La Bautà

Often worn with a three-pointed hat (tricolo) and a long cape, this rectangular mask has the power to distort the voice of the wearer, and therefore to say without fear what one thinks.

The Moreta

Kind of the opposite of the bautà, this mask takes away the voice of the woman who wears it. Since she has to hold the mask with her lips, the woman cannot speak. Some say that it is the absolute symbol of femininity, others remain speechless...

We will not fail to mention the famous mask "medico della peste" (or plague doctor), Il "mattacino", or the masks of the commedia dell'arte which reflect the stereotypes of the society of the time, of which the most known today is Harlequin.

Venice Carnival history

How, when and why venetian people started to wear masks in Venice? Well, there is not a straight answer to this question! Seems like a certain Ulrich II von Treven, Patriarch of Aquileia was involved…

The first official document that declares it a public holiday dates back to 1296, although the first written mention dates back to 1094.

The more sumptuous historical period for Venice Carnival has been the 18th century with characters like Casanova.

Find out where it all began in our dedicated article “6 things you didn’t know about Venice Carnival History”

Find out more about Venice !

But the carnival is just one of the events of the year to mark in the calendar, but there is so much more to do and explore in Venice!

  • Venice Events : find out about some of the other many events and traditions 
  • Venice Tourism 
  • Venice Points of Interest
  • Venice Islands : read more about some of the interesting islands to visit
  • Venice Attractions
  • How many days in Venice?