- February 3rd: Carnival of Venice. Carnevale is one of Venice’s biggest traditions and thus one of Venice’s busiest times for tourism. Celebrations include masquerade balls, parades on both land and in the canals, food fairs, children’s carnivals and numerous other activities.
- February 14th: Valentines Day (Festa di San Valentino). Only in recent years has Italy begun to celebrate the feast day of Saint Valentine with hearts, love letters, and romantic candlelight dinners. Some museums also offer two-for-one admissions for couples on Valentine’s Day.
- Mid- to Late-March: Holy Week and Easter. Tourists, rather than locals, tend to crowd Venice around Easter time. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot take in some lovely pageants, classical music concerts, and Easter services in Venice during Holy Week. Visitors may also wish to attend mass in Saint Mark’s Basilica on Easter.
- March 19: Festa di San Giuseppe. The Feast Day of Saint Joseph (the father of Jesus) is also known as Father’s Day in Italy.
- April 25: Festa di San Marco and Liberation Day. April 25 is a busy day on the Venetian calendar. Saint Mark, Venice’s patron saint, is feted on this day with a gondoliers’ regatta, with commemorations of the saint at Saint Mark’s Basilica, and festivities in Saint Mark’s Square.
- May 1: Labor Day and the Festa della Sparesca. Primo Maggio is a national holiday in Italy, so many Venetians head out of town for a long weekend. Those who stay in town get to witness the Festa della Sparesca, a gondolier regatta held at Cavillino in the lagoon.
- Mid May: Festa della Sensa. The Festa della Sensa, the ceremony which commemorates Venice’s marriage to the sea, takes place on the first Sunday after Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). It also includes a huge fair.
- Late May: Vogalonga. The Vogalonga, held the weekend following the Sensa festival, is an exciting 32 kilometer rowing race with up to 3000 participants. The course runs from San Marco Basin to the island of Burano and returns through the Grand Canal to finish at the Punta della Dogana.
- Early June (every other year in odd-numbered years): Biennale d’Arte Contemporanea & Architettura. The months-long contemporary arts extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale begins in June every other year during odd-numbered years and runs until November.
- Late August through September: Venice Film Festival. The Venice Film Festival is an annual internationally known film festival which sees a number of stars and starlets grace the gondolas and red carpets of the Canal City. The prize given for the winning film is the Leon d’Oro – the Golden Lion – and past recipients have included Akira Kurosawa, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Altman, Ang Lee, and Sofia Coppola. The festival itself takes place on Venice Lido.
- Outdoor Movies and Concerts – You’ll find outdoor movies and concerts in several squares around Venice, such as Campo San Polo, look for posters on walls telling about outdoor events.
Beaches – If you want a beach escape, the closest place to go is Venice Lido, easily reached by vaporetto from Saint Mark’s Square. While the beaches will be crowded, it will probably be a welcome relief from the heat.
- Opera Season at La Fenice. Venice’s famous opera house La Fenice is a great place to see an opera, even if you are not an opera fan.
- 4th Sunday in October: Venice Marathon. An internationally recognized race, the Venice Marathon starts out on the mainland and concludes in Saint Mark’s Square. For more information, visit the Venice Marathon website.
- Halloween. Although Halloween is not really an Italian holiday, it’s becoming pretty popular, especially amongst young adults. You’ll see shop windows decorated for Halloween and you may find Halloween costume parties in bars or restaurants and in nightclubs on the Lido. For something a little creepy you might consider the Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries Tour or a visit to San Michele Island, Venice’s cemetery (see Visiting Venice’s Islands).
- Mid-December: Christmas Market in Venice. From now until mid-January, the festive Christmas market in Campo Santo Stefano is filled with stalls selling quality Venetian handicrafts, including nativity crafts, children’s toys, and seasonal treats. Food, drink, and music are also part of the festivities.
- December 25: Christmas Day. You can expect everything to be closed on Christmas Day as Venetians celebrate the most important religious holiday of the year. Of course, there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in Venice, from attending midnight mass at Saint Mark’s Basilica to visiting Christmas crèches around the city.
If you want more on venice, check out the hashtag #Hello965Venice on Instagram.