The Venice Carnival 2019, aka Carnevale di Venezia, is well underway in… you guessed it, Venice! This annual spectacular of art, music, and fun family activities (including more than one person leaping from a bell tower) is an event that’s enraptured millions of people since 1296, thanks to an act by the Senate of the Republic of Venice, but its origins go back even further.

It’s an eye-opener at the best of times, but if you’re heading down for some fun between now and the 5th of March, here are some of the best things to do.

The Festa delle Marie

23 February, 14:30PM

Venice Carnival

Any self-respecting superhero knows the power of the mask, and so too do the 12 young Venetian ladies parading in St. Mark’s Square. They’ll kick off the shows in this famous square with the Festa delle Marie, dressed in fabulous costumes designed by Atelier Pietro Longhi (with fabrics by Rubelli). Each performer has been pre-selected by a jury – it’s a big event so expect some crowds!

The Flight of the Angel

24 February, 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Venice CarnivalIt sounds like the ending to an 80s musical featuring swinging chandeliers and men in cloaks, but this impressive event will showcase Elisa Costantini, the winner of 2017’s “Festa delle Marie”, descending in style from St. Mark’s bell tower, dressed in a costume made by Atelier Stefano Nicolao. This bizarre tradition goes back to the Serenissima period when an unknown guest of Venice would fly on a rope to offer an homage to the Doge. Let’s hope those safety harnesses are fully tested beforehand!

Flight of the Eagle

3 March, 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Much like the above ‘Flight of the Angel’, here’s another excuse to strap someone to a rope and dangle them over Venice. The “Flight of the Eagle” will this year be taken by a surprise guest (perhaps no one dared sign up yet?) but past eagles who’ve soared from St. Mark’s bell tower to the Carnival stage have included Fabrizia D’Ottavio, Francesca Piccinini, Carolina Kostner, the talented Giusy Versace and Saturino Celani. If you’re having a hard time imagining what this looks like, check out former Venetian eagle Melissa Satta taking on this daring task with… flying colours!

Venice Carnival Dinner Show & Ball

23 February – 5 March, 9:00PM

Venice Carnival

Cinderella, you will go to the ball! What’s more, you’ll devour five delectable dishes in the rooms where Wagner lived and composed his greatest works. The Ca’ Vendramin Calergi Palace’s lavish Renaissance interiors offer unbeatable views of the Grand Canal at this spectacular nightly event during Carnival season. Prepare to be dazzled by burlesque performances, musicians, and acrobats in six decadent rooms. You can even try your hand at a game of chance in the gambling room. Let the masked waiters, flickering candlelight, and sequined gowns create the most romantic and magical night of your life, right here in Venice.

Masks and crafts

All day, every day

Venice Carnival

Head to St Mark’s square any day during the festival to find actors recreating historical events, and craftsmen and women making masks. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Venice of the 18th century and maybe pick up a souvenir or two. What’s more, there’s also a best-mask competition, with some of the crazier designs being masqueraded on-stage before the adoring crowds, so bring your A-game and you could be the toast of Venice! At least for a little while.

We’ve covered the Venice Carnival and Biennale, but do you know any other events in Venice worth checking out?

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Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks

Itchy-footed writer Becky has lived and worked in London, New York, Dubai, Sydney and Bali. She started freelancing in 2010 and has collaborated with top brands such as Microsoft, GQ, TripAdvisor, Hello!, Tiqets, HTC, PayPal, eBay, MTV... the list goes on and on! Traveling is a way of life, and Becky has it down to a fine art!
Becky Wicks