Every February, Venice, known as the floating city of gondolas, pulls another trick off its hat with the Venice Carnival. This 10-day festival is the opportunity to discover Venice from a totally different angle. From masquerades to shows and parades, the whole city wakes up to new magic. If you haven’t yet been to Venice, you just found the perfect excuse to visit.
Date: 17th February
The first day of the Venice Carnival starts with a big bang with the Festa Veneziana. You want to be there early (the crowd gets huge) to grab the best spot to watch a show like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The annual water parade starts as a flock of colorful gondolas sails on the Grand Canal towards Rio di Cannaregio. They carry Venetians who are all dressed up in traditional garbs and marks. Festive Italian music and the cheers of the excited spectators add to the joyful atmosphere that engulfs everyone.
Festa Delle Marie
Date: As from 23rd February
Venice recreates the magic of a traditional beauty contest that features 12 beautiful women, all dressed in the finest Venetian gowns, who are presented to the Doge of Venice (during ancient times the Doge was the leader of the city). The parade starts from San Pietro di Castello and the 12 women are carried by palanquin bearers to San Marco where they’re officially presented to the public. This event is repeated for 10 days, which gives everyone a chance to attend.
Ever dreamed of attending a masquerade ball with all the glitz and glamor of ancient times? Turn that dream into a reality at the Baglioni Hotel Luna, which is hosting two masquerade balls during the carnival: the Moon Masquerade Party on the 23rd February and the Great Baglioni Party on the 2nd March. Dress up to the nines, wear a Venetian mask and you’re up for one of the best nights of your life.
Flight of the Angel
Date: 24th February
From the moment you reach San Marco, the sight of locals dressed in Venetian costumes and masks may confuse you. Like you, they’re here to attend the Flight of the Angel.
The Flight of the Angel is an age-old tradition that honored the Doge of Venice. The winner of last year’s Festa delle Marie will be dressed as an angel with wings clipped to her back and will jump from St. Mark’s Basilica’s clock tower, attached to a zipline, and will fly 100 metres down to embrace the Doge.
When the angel is about to leap, the tower suddenly seems even taller and it’s as if time slows down as you watch each move. Will she make it safely? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Once she jumps, the crowd erupts in cheers and you’ll find yourself joining in. This successful jump marks the beginning of the festivities of the day.
The Best Mask Contest
Date: 24th February to 3rd March
When you see everyone donning stunning Venetian costumes and masks, you want to be a part of it too. That’s exactly what you can do during the Best Mask Contest. This event is open to anyone. You just need to fill out an application form to enter and wear a mask that stands out. Who knows? You may even win one of the daily contests and it’s also the perfect excuse to buy carnival masks that are sold all over Venice.
Atma Inaugural Event: Carnevale Del Futuro
Date: 1st March
Aman Resorts is launching its new concept Atma during the Venice Carnival. Atma will be a series of events derived from the culture of Aman’s various destinations. Keeping in line with the Venice Carnival events, this launching event is called Carnevale Del Futuro, meaning the carnival of the future.
The night will start with dinner and a live Jazz-inspired performance by the popular British pianist and vocalist Jamie Cullum at the Aman Venice. The guests will then board a boat to the Arsenale di Venezia for the Carnevale Del Futuro, which promises to be a night full of surprises. Whether to wear a mask or not for this sensational night is all up to you.
Flight of the Eagle
Date: 3rd March
Time: 11 am
If you happen to miss the Flight of the Angel, you can catch the Flight of the Eagle, which takes place during the last few days of the carnival. This is a recent addition to the festival of Venice and is inspired by the Flight of the Angel. In the same fashion, someone jumps from the St. Mark’s and flies down by zip-line to the ground. The Eagle is usually someone well-known in Italy and previous Eagles include Italian paralympian Giusy Versace and Diesel’s CEO, Renzo Rosso. The event also include a series parades and acrobatic performances.
Where to check-in for the Carnival?
Wondering where to stay to make the most out of the Venice Carnival?
If George Clooney picked this hotel to say goodbye to his life as a bachelor and marry Amal Alamuddin, then there must be something very special about the Aman Venice. Set in one of the great palazzos on the Grand Canal, this hotel offers an exceptional view of the canal, which is perfect to watch the Festa Veneziana and the popular landmarks are within a short distance from the hotel.
If you’re into wellness, you probably know that the Aman Resorts are best known for their spas and wellness programmes and the Aman Venice is no exception. Try the Grounding Massage Ritual, a Tibetan-inspired massage, to relax after spending most of the day in the city. You’ll be ready to start the next afresh.
Baglioni Hotel Luna
One of the oldest hotels in Venice, the Baglioni Hotel Luna takes you back to the Renaissance era with its stunning decor. It’s period-style elegance gives it a certain charm and during the Venice Carnival, traditions will be revived with two exceptional masquerade balls.
The Baglioni Hotel Luna also offers unique experiences to discover authentic Venetian culture. At Canova chef Daniele brings his own spin on classic Italian cuisine, which keeps impressing guests. But that’s not all; the hotel also offers activities closely linked to the region’s traditions. For instance you can book an evening tour with Codega (Someone who would escort people through the streets of ancient Venice at night to keep them safe) and find the hidden corners of the city.
The Gritti Palace
A 15th century Palazzo that retains its historic style, The Gritti Palace offers an exceptional view over the Grand Canal and the Santa Maria della Salute, one of the most important churches in Venice.
The hotel’s rooms and suites sport an elegant Venetian style decor that reminds you of the golden age. From the period-style furniture to the precious paintings and antiques, everything makes you feel that you’re reliving the ancient times. This is the place to opt for if you’re intrigued by the Renaissance era.
Hotel Londra Palace
Russian pianist Tchaikovsky loved the atmosphere while famous poet Brodsky favored its location. Hotel Londra Palace has a 19th century feel to it and is known for its 100 windows that overlook San Marco. Each room is different and blends comfort and elegance with its warm hues, artefacts and period-style furniture.
This boutique hotel is just a short stroll to San Marco where some of the major events will be held.