When someone asks me what time of the year is best to visit Venice, I usually answer spring and fall. Yet, any moment you are going to be here, you’ll have a reason to savour the place. The city offers such an ample variety of attractions and events that you’ll seldom go home disappointed.
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Spring equals good weather without the sizzling heat of the summer. Besides, the packed crowds will arrive only with the high season so the visitors can enjoy a congenial city. This is also the period in which some big openings are held. In May, the Biennale uncloses its doors to thousands of visitors from all over the world coming to the two main venues (which themselves are worth a visit) at the Giardini and the Arsenale. Useful to remember that in the odd years it’s Visual Arts to hold court while it’s Architecture in the even years. The Biennale also drags a plethora of other interesting shows scattered around the whole city. The less timid might even dare jump into the sea at Lido. Sant’Erasmo also sports a nice beach and has another reason for a visit: in April, the castraure are harvested. It’s the tasty apical part of the plant of the violet artichoke that is cut so as to allow the development of other flowers.
If you think to survive large crowds, dampness, heat, and higher prices, you’re welcome to visit Venice in summer. Then, the city goes at full blast with people literally everywhere to enjoy the heat or looking for a draft of fresh air. The third Saturday of July is the day of the Redentore when a temporary bridge allows to walk to the Giudecca and at midnight, fireworks are on display over the lagoon.
Fall is as balmy as spring. The masses get thinner and Venetians can feel to be again the masters of their city. If lucky enough, especially in October, you can stay outdoors. On the first Sunday of October, the Sagra del Mosto is held in Sant’Erasmo, while on the last Sunday it’s the Venice Marathon to attract runners and viewers. November 21st is the day of the Madonna della Salute which we cover in one of our posts. A typical autumnal dish is the moeche, small crabs caught during the molt when they still have a soft shell that is eaten together with the rest of the crustacean.
The quietest season is undoubtedly winter. Most days are crystal-clear sunny and rain-free with sometimes a touch of chill courtesy of the Bora. In late January and February, the experience may even get magical when the city is blanketed in snow. In February, the Carnival takes place: Shrove Tuesday is a moveable date, but fun and joy are guaranteed even more so if with a Prontopia Local to drive you around.