Who wouldn't like to visit Venice during Carnival season? Simply walking around and seeing all the beautiful masks is already a fun and one of a kind experience. To live it to the fullest and to not miss all the main happenings, here is a list of the best events of Venice Carnival 2020! Let Prontopia be your compass to help you navigate the city with its cornucopia of attractions.
Carnival came about during the 40 days of Lent, when parties weren't allowed. A number of foods like meat, sugar, and fats also weren't allowed during that time. So people felt the urge to throw big parties and drink all they could before Lent began. And that's how Carnival came about! In Venice, it most likely started in 1162, in memory of a victory by Patriarch of Aquileia.
An interesting fact: the Italian Carnevale is believed to come from the Latin words carne and levare, meaning "get rid of meat"!
Venice Carnival 2020 starts on February 8th and ends on February 25th.
On February 8th, the first Carnival Sunday, the official opening with the famous water show will strike up on Rio Di Cannaregio at 7 PM and 9 PM. This year, the Carnival theme is "AMORIS CAUSA", or "Love is the reason". The show intends to honor the sweetest of the all madnesses. In the words of the organizers:
Passione e follia danzano insieme al suono di serenate lontane e promesse sussurrate. E’ il destino di chi ama, perennemente in bilico tra l’infinito e il qui e ora. Tutto a causa dell’amore!
"Passion and madness dance together at the rhythm of the distant ballads and whispered promises. It's the destiny of those who love, eternally between infinity and the here and now. Everything is because of love!"
We can't wait to watch this incredible water show organized by Wavents, a Venetian company that offers high-impact shows and performances, with the participation of Antonio Bonura “The White Dragon”, specialized in plays of fire.
NOTE: The two sides of the canal from which you can see the show are always horrendously crowded, so make sure to get there early.
On February 9th, the second part of the inauguration ceremony will take place with the traditional water parade. It will be held on the Grand Canal at 11 AM with the participation of the Venetian Rowing Associations - Coordinamento Associazioni Remiere Voga alla Veneta.
The following Saturday, February 15th, is the day of the Festa delle Marie, one of the oldest events in Venice. At 2.30 PM, twelve girls selected in the previous weeks will be brought from San Piero di Castello to Saint Mark Square. These girls are selected among the most beautiful Venetian girls, and one will win the title of the most beautiful of all.
The “Festa delle Marie” starts on February 15th, which is its inauguration day, but it is then articulated in different days, giving the opportunity to admire the traditional Venetian period costumes to the public.
The origin of this celebration goes back to the feast of the Purification of the Virgin, the day on which betrothed couples were blessed.
The twelve poorest girls were chosen from these couples to be given dowries by aristocratic families and, on their wedding day, they were taken to Piazza San Marco. Today, the girls are selected by a jury and taken on sedan chairs from San Piero di Castello to Piazza San Marco.
The next morning, February 16th, the spectacular Volo dell’Angelo (the Flight of the Angel) occurs at the Piazza San Marco. From the top of the Campanile di San Marco, a young lady in traditional Venetian costume flies down attached to a rope.
This too has historical origins: in the mid-16th century, a young Turk reached the belfry of the bell tower walking on a rope from a boat and then down to the balcony of the Palazzo Ducale, paying tributes to the Doge.
On Fat Thursday, February 20th, you can join the competition for the best costume in Saint Mark Square: show up at the stage in Piazza San Marco on the mornings.
The dramatic Volo dell’Aquila (The Flight of the Eagle) is on the morning of on Sunday 23rd. Prepare for the crowd of revelers filling the city to the brim on the final day of Carnival during each of these events!
Another, final flight will take place in the Piazza on February 25th: this time it’s the winged lion’s turn! A flag with the lion will be raised up to the Campanile but before this ceremony, the most beautiful Maria will climb the stage. After that, it’s fun until dawn!
Looking for the most carnivalesque event of Venice Carnival 2020, this is the answer: NURTURE LOVE, FEED THE FOLLY EVENT. However, this is an exclusive private event, hence you need to buy ticket. You can click here for more information.
And if you are looking for something more simple, you can always join the free public dancehall event that takes place every year around the Market Square of Rialto and in Campo Santa Maria Formosa.
If you wish to live the experience of an authentic ball in a Venetian palace, Sunday, February 23th at 5.00 pm at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello there will be a Corto Maltese inspired party. For more info, reservations and tickets contact: tel. 041 2410491 – e-mail: palazzoalbrizzigmail.com
Keep in mind that various local organizations organize their stage scattered around the city, so keep an eye open to spot them or, even better, ask for in-person help from Prontopia to show you the main squares where these public events will take place!
And to stay updated, join our Venice Facebook group!