December is when Venice recovers from the frenzy of the rest of the year. Let’s discover together the unmissable December events in Venice Italy 2018.
It is the quietest month for the city as Venetians find respite during this period when darkness reigns over sunlight. It is also a perfect time for a romantic break. The empty calli and campi make ideal settings for en plein air embraces with your beau or belle. It isn’t the coldest period—snow and frost only make their appearance in January and February —but dampness and high water are not infrequent so come warmly-dressed and with your waders (read our post).
Most exhibits close around the same time as the Biennale, but with quite a number of others still open and along with the many museums around the city, art aficionados will find plenty yet to enjoy.
Lovers of glass-making can immerse themselves in the art at three exhibits; two on the activities of Carlo Scarpa as a glass designer from the 1920s to the 1940s – The M.V.M. Cappellin Glassworks at the Stanze del Vetro in the island of San Giorgio (free entrance; open every day, except on Wednesdays, 10 am -7 pm) and La Pelle del Vetro at the Negozio Olivetti in Piazza San Marco (tickets are €8; open every day, except on Mondays, 10 am – 6.30 pm); while Milan-based designer Mario Bellini shows his work for the factories Seguso and Venini at the Glass Museum in Murano (tickets are €12; open every day 10 am – 5 pm).
2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of Tintoretto with three ongoing commemorative exhibitions at the Doge’s Palace, the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and the Scuola Grande di San Marco.
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This year, Hanukkah is celebrated from 2nd to 10th December. Come join the Grand Menorah Lighting in the Campo del Ghetto, one of the oldest ghettos in the world. There will be music, delicious fresh doughnuts and crispy potato latkes tasting, and 100% chance of dancing.
Saint Mark’s Basilica is a must visit when the Christmas Night Mass begins at 11.30 pm on 24th December. With all the candles lit, the view of the church is quite spectacular.
The biggest celebration will be on New Year’s Eve in Venice when the crowds descend on Piazza San Marco to usher in the New Year with a great firework show. Mind your possessions though, as pickpockets will also be out in droves that night.
The Teatro La Fenice schedules the New Year’s Concert, directed by Myung-Whun Chung, with “Va’ Pensiero” from Nabucco and “Libiam ne’ lieti calici” from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi.
Lastly, the cherry on the cake of your idyllic December in Venice is dinner in one of the best restaurants in the city. We like Ostaria da Fiore near Campo San Polo. The chef, signora Mara Martin, has been tantalizing her guests’ taste buds for over 30 years. Make a reservation well in advance for a delightful gastronomic evening.