Come visit Venice in March for Venice Carnival (Carnevàl de Venexia), stay for the excellent exhibitions!
March days in Venice are beautiful, chilly days, and this year with Shrove Tuesday on March 9th, buzzing with carnival celebration.
The last week of Carnival kicks off with a competition for the best mask and everyone is welcome to take part: come and join the fun and put your best foot forward before the judges at the stage in Piazza San Marco on the mornings of March 1st and 2d, and who knows when they announce the winner on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd, it might be you!
If you missed the spectacular Volo dell’Angelo, which marks the official opening of the celebrations, not to fret, there’s still the equally spectacular Volo dell’Aquila (The Flight of the Eagle) on the morning of March 3rd. An Italian celebrity (whose identity remains unknown until a few weeks before the event) will “fly” from the top of the bell tower down into the Piazza.
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Prepare for the crowd of revellers filling the city to the brim on the final day of Carnival! The local police will be on hand directing people and setting up one-way streets. Still better safe than sorry – mind your belongings all the time and a marvellous time can be had by all! Another, final, flight will take place in the Piazza: this time it’s the winged lion’s turn! A symbol of the city, it has been watching over Venice for centuries and on Shrove Tuesday will claim its place as the city’s hero. A flag with the lion will be raised up to the Campanile. Before this ceremony, the most beautiful Maria will climb the stage after being brought on a boat from San Giacomo dell’Orio in the district of Santa Croce. After that, it’s spontaneous fun until dawn!
The following day, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent so this early March is the moment to taste as many frittelle as possible. These doughnut balls with raisins and pine nuts are a true delight made by the pastry shops according to their own recipes. Our favourites are Rosa Salva, Tonolo, and Targa.
Do plan to spend a few more days in the city after the festivities because … arts! Art lovers can’t (and shouldn’t) miss the exhibition on Canaletto at the Doge’s Palace (open every day 8.30-17.30). At the fascinating Palazzo Fortuny (itself worth a visit) the exposition Futuruins is open until March 24th. It explores the meaning attributed to ruins in the different eras. Lastly, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (another place to visit no matter what) hosts an exhibition with a selection of postwar European and American art from the Schulhof Collection until March 18th (open 10-18 except on Tuesdays).