Venice Travel Guide


Public Festivities

1 May - Labour Day
1 Nov - All Saints' Day
15 Aug - Feast of the Assumption
26 Dec - St Stephen's Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
1 Jan - New Year's Day
8 Dec - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Apr/May - Easter Monday
25 Apr - Liberation Day
6 Jan - Epiphany
Apr/May - Good Friday


January 6th - Epiphany: Religious festivity and Befane Regatta Traditional Venetian music, distribution of sweets, mulled wine for all watching the "Befane" racing on the Canal Grande. Info: Canottieri Bucintoro (Tel. +39 041 5237933)

January 28th - Carnival begins the 28th of January and ends the 8th of February (until Ashes Wednesday). The title of 2005 Venice carnival is "Venetian Carneval: mask parade and events in theatre".

At the beginning of the XV century social clubs, whose aim was to organize festivities and entertainment, were set up in the city by groups of Venetian nobles and gentlemen. These clubs were called "Compagnia di Calza" and their distinguishing feature was their variously coloured "flags". It was like a breath of fresh air, a sign of exuberance and inventiveness. To wear a mask became obligatory: one had to put on a different face from the one worn every day. The masks from the "Commedia dell' Arte" came into the squares to mingle with the merry-making crowd. During more recent years Carnival has re-exploded into life as an expression of popular joy, when square and theatre intertwine, and so Venice lives on through Carnival. Events and festivities are organized for a period of about ten days, to be exact those immediately preceding Lent. Music, plays, dance and folklore alternate in the theatres and palaces, while the streets, the canals, the large and small squares become one enormous, joyful stage.

February 8th - End of Venetian Carnival

February 14th - St.Valentine's day


April 3th - «Su e zo per i ponti» (Up and down the bridges), a non competitive foot-race which winds along the narrow streets and crosses almost all the districts of Venice.

April 20th - Easter holiday. Public holiday.

April 25th - "Liberation Day" and "Feast of St. Mark" Venice patron saint; in these days Italy celebrates its liberation from the Nazis at the end of 2nd World War. Public holiday. In Venice the feast day honoring the patron saint of Venice is also called "festa del Bocolo": men are presenting their partner and/or women of their family with a long stemmed red rose (the "bòcolo", blossom).


May 1st - "May Day" (Labor Day). Public holiday.

May 8st - The festivity of the Sensa (Ascension Day). Revival of the old marriage ceremony of Venice to the sea with a procession of decorated boats. The wedding ceremony between the Doge and the sea (now the mayor plays the part)

May 15th - Vogalonga, International non-competitive rowing-race, taking place in front of St.Mark's Square and Venice Lagoon.

This is a 30 Km. non-competitive rowing race in which hundreds of boats of every shape and form, together with hundreds of Venetian and foreign rowers, take part. This day of festivity, completely devoted to rowing, makes it possible for Venice and the lagoon to be rediscovered along the race's singular course (from the lagoon to Burano, and back down through the Grand Canal).
The first edition of the Vogalonga originated in 1974 to find a remedy for a degrading situation of the lagoon due to noisy boats with outboard motors. 500 old venetian boats thus gathered following the same route today. Now the boats are more than 1700 with about 5000 rowers and Venetians are almost a minority in comparison with vigorous crews coming from all over the world.
A medal will be given to all the participants that covered the whole itinerary.


June 2nd - "Republic Day"

June 8th -"Whit Sunday" and "Ancient Sea Republics Regatta" - Grand Canal
An annual challenge between the four Antique Italian Maritime Republics (Venice, Genua, Amalfi and Pisa) who take it in turns to organise the regata. The last time this contest took place in Venice was in 1999. The boats - all identical - have eight "vogatori" (rowers) plus the helmsman, with fixed seats and a minimum weight of 750 kg. They are made of fiberglass with different colours and figureheads. The race covers 1.800-2.000 metres and in Venice the finish line is opposite Piazzetta S. Marco in the lagoon. The regatta starts with a long pageant of over 300 people wearing costumes of the time, with flags, banners and figurehead horses.

June 11th - Sant'Erasmo regata

June 12th - November 6sd - The 51st edition of the International Art Exhibition will present two events: The experience of art dedicated to the point of arrival of art today curated by Maria de Corrai in the Italian Pavillion; and Always a little further, focuses on the future of contemporaneity, curated by Rosa Martinez at the Venice Arsenal.

June 22th - "Corpus Domini" (Palio delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare) Ancient Sea Republics Regatta - Grand Canal

June 25th - S. Giovanni e Paolo regata

Last week of June - Feast of San Pietro di Castello Various stands offering traditional Venetian dishes and wine.


July 16th (Third week of July) - Redentore Feast-Day of the Redeemer. Religious ceremonies are held every year in the church erected to commemorate the plague of 1577. The festival begins on Saturday night when decorated boats take up position in St.Mark's Basin to watch the fireworks. Sunday afternoon there is a regatta in the Giudecca Canal. Visitors to the Redentore church (Giudecca Island) can reach it by walking across a specially built pontoon bridge


August 6th - Pellestrina regata

August 15th - Concert "dell'Assunta", island of Torcello

August 28 - September 7: Venice Film Festival. Fiction films, documentaries and shorts are screened, with the prestigious Golden Lion awarded for best film. Various venues. For information and tickets, call 041-521-8711.


September 4th (First Sunday of September) - Regata Storica (Historical regatta). Traditional rowing race down the Grand Canal. begin at h. 14,30 until about h. 18,30. This annual boat race, a test of the gondolieri's mettle, takes place on the Grand Canal. Boats are decorated, spirits run high and the competition is fierce. Phone 041-270-8080.

September 18th - PREMIO CAMPIELLO (3° Saturday of September). A very famous book contest.

September 21th - Burano Regatta


October 23th - (4° Sunday of October) Venice Marathon. Official marathon along the brenta-riviera to Venice.

The annual date for running enthusiasts at one of the most fascinating and spectacular venues of all the official marathons that are run at international level. The course winds along the Brenta Riviera, among the villas and the old country residences of the Venetian nobility, to arrive at the unique and coveted finishing line that is St. Mark's Square in Venice. Start from Stra, finish Riva Sette Martiri, Venice. Collection of numbers, 25-26 October at Exposport, piazza Ferretto/piazzale Candiani, Mestre. Pasta Party for all the athlets saturday 26 October.The marathon is open to Italians and foreigners who will have come of age within October 27 2002.


November 21st - Feast of Madonna della Salute ("Our Lady of Good Health's Day"). Religious event. Feast day of our Lady of Good Health at the Salute Church. It was built in thanks for the city's deliverance from the the plague of 1630-31. Today, a procession across the Grand Canal ends at the church, where participants pray for the sick.


December 8th - Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Public holiday.

December 25th - Christmas. Religious festivity and public holiday.

December 26th - St. Stephen's Day. Religious festivity and public holiday

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