Perhaps you’d like to plan your visit to Venice around one of the many cultural, sporting or musical events taking place in the city each year or maybe you’ll simply discover that, by happy coincidence, you can attend one of those listed here during your forthcoming holiday.
Events taking place during the remainder of 2019
1st September 2019 (the first Sunday in September)
Regata Storica – This spectacularly colourful Venetian event, is a re-evocation of the welcome given to Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, in 1489 after she renounced her throne in favour of Venice. There is a procession of 16th century style boats, dozens of multi-coloured and decorated craft with people in period costume and numerous races, all watched and cheered on by crowds of supporters lining the banks of the Grand Canal.
28th August – 7th September 2019
The 76th Venice International Film Festival
The Venice International Film Festival on the island of the Lido is the oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world where films battle it out to win the coveted Golden Lion award while film stars dazzle on the red carpet.
5th September 2019 – 1st March 2020
FROM TITIAN TO RUBENS. Masterpieces from Antwerp and other Flemish Collections
Palazzo Ducale Appartamento del Doge
27 October 2019
21st of November
Festa della Salute – One of the most moving and best loved of all Venetian events. Every year on the 21st of November, Venetians make a pilgrimage to the plague church of Santa Maria Della Salute (St. Mary of Health) to pray to the Virgin Mary and to light candles. Gondoliers visit bringing their oars to be blessed. A pontoon bridge is built across the Grand Canal from Santa Maria del Giglio to the Salute and the huge doors of the church are opened to the city and its visitors
Events taking place during the first half of 2020
(please note that the actual dates of some events listed below will be specified as soon as they are confirmed and that further events will be added as their details/dates become known).
6 January – (Epiphany)
Regata delle Befane – An ancient Italian tradition which, in Venice, involves a rowing competition along the Grand Canal (starting at San Toma and ending at the Rialto Bridge) between men dressed as the Italian witch-like character well known to all Italian children as ‘Befana’. The ‘Befane’ aim to be first to reach the giant stocking hung especially for the occasion from the Rialto Bridge.
The ‘Procession of the Magi’ – The Clock Tower (Torre dell’ Orologio), St. Mark’s Square – Have your cameras at the ready to capture this rare display, only visible at Epiphany and on Ascension Day. Hourly (and as the clock strikes the hour), the recently restored wooden figures of the Angel with Trumpet and the Three Kings (or ‘Magi’), emerge from behind the small ornate door on the left hand side of the clock tower in order to make their brief and time-honoured mechanical procession along the loggia in front of the gilded bronze statue of the Madonna and Child, before disappearing until their next appearance, through another small door on the opposite side of the tower.
8 – 25 February 2020
The Venice Carnival (Carnevale) – A festival famous throughout the world for its theatricality and exuberance, its masks and merriment. A time of grand balls, celebrating in the squares, elaborate disguises and time-honoured traditions harking all the way back to the 13th century.
19th April 2020
Su e Zo per I ponti – (‘up and down the bridges’) All are welcome to take part in this annual non-competitive walk through Venice, starting at the Ponte della Paglia, winding along the calli and campi of the different sestieri (districts) of the city and finally ending in St Mark’s Square.. A fun way of getting to know the city, there are two routes – one of around 5 miles crossing 45 bridges and a shorter one of about 3.5 miles crossing 32 bridges
11 of April 2019 (Holy Saturday)
Benedizione del Fuoco – St. Mark’s Basilica. At around sunset, a torch is lit in the atrium of the darkened Basilica and a procession takes place with candles being lit one by one as it makes its way around. Communion is celebrated.
25th of April
St Mark’s Day / Festa del Bocolo – A feast in honour of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. On this day Venetian men give their loved ones a single red rose known as a “Bòcolo”.
(The first Sunday after Ascension Day)
Festa e Regata della Sensa – The symbolic marriage of Venice to the sea. The Mayor of Venice, civic dignitaries and religious and military representatives leave St Mark’s Square and sail, accompanied by boats and rowers in historic costume, to the Port of S. Nicolò where they ritually throw a ring into the ocean. A laurel wreath is also laid in memory of those lost at sea. There is a ceremony of the “Wedding with the Sea” in front of the Church of S. Nicolò di Lido followed by a Regatta of the Sensa and Holy Mass at the church of S. Nicolò di Lido. A Sensa market also takes place at S.Nicolò.
Vogalonga – A spectacular event attracting worldwide interest from spectators and participants alike. The vogalonga is a strenuous but friendly rowing race from St Mark’s Basin to the island of Burano returning via the Cannaregio Canal and Grand Canal before finally ending at the Punta Della Dogana. All kinds of rowing boats are involved, many from overseas. Started in 1975 by a group of rowing enthusiasts, the event is a visual feast with 1550 boats and 5800 participants taking part in 2007.
23 May – 29 November 2020 (pre-opening 21 and 22 May)
The 17th International Architecture Exhibition
Last week of June
Festa di San Pietro in Castello – traditional festivities celebrated in this ancient parish found to the east of the city.
18 – 19 July 2012 – (The 3rd Sunday in July and the Saturday evening before)
Festa del Redentore– One of the Venetians’ most loved events which came into being as a feast to give thanks for the end of the plague of 1575. A pontoon bridge is built every year from the Zattere in Dorsoduro over to the Church of the Redentore on the island of Giudecca. At sunset on the Saturday a large number of decorated boats begin congregating in St Mark’s Basin and people line the lantern-strung waterfronts to party, eat traditional food and to wait for the fireworks to begin (a breathtaking spectacle which begins at 11.30pm and lasts until after midnight). A wonderfully atmospheric evening which is followed on the Sunday with church services and a regatta on the Giudecca Canal.