The Venice Carnival 2018, 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 13th of February, here are some of the best things to do.
3 February, 14:30PM
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 an ad hoc jury – it’s a big event so expect some crowds!
4 February, 11:00AM – 12:00PM
It 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!
11 February, 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 Melissa Satta taking on this daring task at last year’s carnival.
13 February, 4 – 4:30PM
Who’s the fairest of them all? Venice will decide on the 2018 winning “Marie” in an extravagant award ceremony, staged in San Marco Square. Expect the 12 Maries to arrive in style by boat, having left from Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio. They’ll all be dressed to the nines in their fantastic costumes and choosing a winner won’t be easy. Who will wear the crown? It’s nail-biting stuff.
3-14 February, 9:00PM
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.
11-17 February, all day, every day
Head to St Mark square any day during the festival to find actors recreating historical events, and craftsmen and women making masks, in particular, the Masks of the Venice Carnival 2018 – “Pantalone” and “Colombina”. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Venice of the 18th century and maybe pick up a souvenir or two.
We’ve covered the Venice Carnival and Biennale, but do you know any other events in Venice worth checking out?
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