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Events in Venice

Discover the festivals of the most romantic city in Italy! Here below we suggest you a list of principal events in Venice throughout the year.

Carnival of Venice

(January-February)

Carnival is the feast of feasts! Costumes, masks, jokes, food and drink: nothing is missing in this ancient, unrivalled celebration.

The Venetian Carnival is undoubtedly the most important carnival in Europe and is one of the best known in the whole world. It's not by chance that one of the symbols of Venice, besides the gondola and the Rialto Bridge, is the Venetian Carnival mask, of which you will find thousands of versions in every gift shop in the city.

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The Venice Biennale

(June 1st - November 24th, 2013)

Every other year (years with odd numbers), Venice becomes the capital of contemporary art, hosting the world-famous Biennale.
It includes many different disciplines - not only figurative arts, but also music, theatre and dance.
The event has two further branches within it: the Biennale of Architecture, which is held in years with even numbers, and the Venice Film Festival, which was the first ever event of this type, awarding the best films with the famous Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) and other prestigious prizes.

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The Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival: Leone d'oro(August 28th - September 7th, 2013)

The Venice Film Festival is the oldest European film festival: it was organized for the first time in 1932. It is part of the Venice Biennale, a major exhibition of contemporary art, held every two years.

Aside from being an important awards ceremony, it has also become an important fashion show for celebrities.

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Venice Historical Regatta

(September 1st, 2013)

The historical Regatta is celebrated on the first Sunday of September and it's one of the Venetians' most loved events. It is the most important moment in the sporting season of Venetian rowing clubs.
This extraordinary and typically Venetian sporting competition was begun in 1315 to honour Venice Regatamilitary victories as well as the Queen of Cypro, Caterina Cornaro, who signed the beginning of Serenissima's supremacy on the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays it's composed of two different parts:  – the corteo storico (historical parade) and the Regata (the Regatta). The Regatta starts with the traditional procession on water of the Bissone and Bucintoro boats and the boats of the Venetian rowing clubs. After the parade, the first race is between young rowers on very technical boats. After them, it's time for women to row the "Mascarete", a special boat which is much lighter than normal. The third race sees men on six-oared boats named "Caorline"; today they are used only during this event. The most exciting part of the competition is the race between experienced rowers on very light two–oared boats (Gondolini) to win the ambitious Regatta route. The winners receive prestigious red flags; the rowers that finish second, third and fourth respectively receive white, green and blue flags.

THE REGATTA'S ROUTE starts at Riva degli Schiavoni passing through the Grand Canal arriving at the St. Lucia Station. Then the boats come back towards the floating platform near Ca' Foscari where the winners are proclaimed.


Palio of the Ancient Maritime Republics

(June 2nd, 2013)

The Palio of the Ancient Maritime Republics (Venice, Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa) - the most important Italian seaports in medieval times - takes place every year in June, in turn on the Lagoon, on the Arno and on the Mediterranean Sea. In Venice the festivity is dedicated to the Queen Caterina Corsaro, who once donated the island of Cypro to the Serenissima.
The highest Venetian offices (Doge, Senators, Ambassadors) take part in the parade. After the procession, the race between the four Republics begins. Four boats named "Galeoni" representing the Republics, compete with each other to win the ambitious prize of a medieval banner (the palio). 

The winners keep the prize until the following year, when the palio passes into the hands of the next winners.


Madonna della Salute festival

Santa Maria della Salute

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Photo credits

(November 21st)

The "Virgin's Celebration" is a Catholic event that, in general, does not attract many non-Catholic tourists.  This celebration commemorates the terrifying plague epidemic of 1629 to 1631. German and French troops carried the plague from Mantua, in 1629. Many people died as a result of the plague, for example it is estimated that over 11.000 died in only one month, in November.
Venetians decided to build this basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary – who for various reasons was believed to be the protector of the Republic – to protect themselves from the plague. The project was given to the architect Baldassarre Longhena. Venice wanted a new majestic church to celebrate the Virgin Mary and the Serenissima. The Church was completed in 1681.
Nowadays, the festival takes place every year on the 21st of November. A temporary bridge of boats is built which crosses the Grand Canal, connecting San Moisè and Santa Maria del Giglio. Thousands of people cross the bridge each year, to go to the main altar and thank and ask the Virgin Mary to protect their health.


Venice Marathon

(October 27th, 2013)

The Venice Marathon is an annual running competition held in the last two weeks of October.
It was first held in 1986, when 712 people attended the competition, giving a great boost to Italian sport.
The Marathon starts at Villa Pisani in Stra, a village near Padua. The route goes on road n.11, then passes across Fiesso d'Artico, Dolo, Mira, Oriago and Malcontenta in the direction of Mestre. After 5 km, the run continues in St. Giuliano's park for about 3 km before reaching Venice.
For sure, the most difficult part of the marathon is by the Ponte della Libertà (Freedom's Bridge), which connects the suburbs to the city. It brings runners to the port area, in the direction of the old city centre, passing all the famous bridges of the city, St. Mark's Square, Riva of Schiavoni, Riva of Ca' di Dio and Riva of San Biagio.
The end of the race is at Riva of Sette Martiri. The total distance of the marathon is 42 km (26 miles). To participate in the Venice Marathon you must be at least 18 years old and have a FEDAL member card.


The festival of Redentore

(July 20th-21st, 2013)

The city celebrates the Festival of the Redentore on every third Sunday of July. It is both a religious and a secular festival, which is much loved by Venetians.

It commemorates the end of an epidemic plague which occurred during the second half of XVII° century. History tells that the plague was brought back from the Orient by commercial traders. Doge Venier promised to build a new church once the Serenissima had managed to escape the plague. When the plague finished, the Doge kept his promise and in 1592 comissioned Palladio to build the church.

The former church was made of wood but was finished very quickly according to Palladio's design. Every year, on the anniversary of the construction of the Church, many boats decorated with lights leave from the bridge of St. Mark Square and sail towards the church. People walk on a special temporary bridge assembled on floating platforms, that connects Venice to the island of Giudecca. In this way, Venetians who don't have a boat can reach the Church of Redentore by foot. People usually enjoy the festival by drinking wine and eating "Saor", a traditional Venetian dish.
The celebration begins in the morning and ends at midnight, when coloured fireworks illuminate the whole of the St. Mark's area and its beautiful buildings.

Nowadays the festival of the Redentore is also an occasion for young people to spend a pleasant and romantic day on boat. It's possible to stay in St. Mark's Square, but Venetians generally prefer to be on the island of Giudecca. There, families sit in the open air and eat near the shore or celebrate the festival directly on boats.

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Gondolas, canals, lights and colors ... this is Venice, the ancient city on the water, known worldwide for its architectural beauty and its mysterious and romantic atmosphere.

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