Discover how to go to the Carnival in Venice, a festival rich in traditions, folklore, and colours following all the precious tips of Visit Italy.
With its 1,600 years of history, the city of Venice attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. The unparalleled charm of its calli, historic palaces on the lagoon and breathtaking views is an irresistible lure for those who want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind travel experience. In particular, Carnival is among the main events that make this ancient maritime republic a place to experience and explore to the fullest. If you, too, want to learn more about how to go to the Venice Carnival, follow the tips we have prepared for you at Visit Italy.
When it comes time to prepare your travel itinerary, one of the main elements to consider is to ask yourself: how to go to the Venice Carnival? Knowing that it is a particularly appreciated and awaited event, we advise you to quickly take your mind local to define in detail all your movements, evaluating possible alternatives in the use of transportation, booking of accommodations and everything you need to enjoy this event and serenely immerse yourself in this magical explosion of masks, costumes, and colors of Carnival in the company of many festive and amused people.
Among the countless reasons why it is worth visiting this beautiful city, the Carnival in Venice is certainly a primary attraction. This world-renowned event has always fascinated with its old-time atmosphere and the elegance of its masks and costumes. So if you think how to go to the Venice Carnival with the right mindset, get ready for an immersion in a parallel and magical world. Here, reality seems to step aside to make way for a surreal environment where you can play at hiding your identity wearing the mask you like best.
It's a moment of celebration that combines the memories of historical tradition with the modern pleasure of tourism and sharing great events with your loved ones. If during ancient times this festival was born to give the population a long period of leisure and entertainment, today going to the Carnival of Venice is a way to get involved and relax among the people, street performers, shows and music, discovering little by little the riches that the city and its territory can offer you.
So If you want to understand how to go to the Venice Carnival to make it an unforgettable experience, follow the tips that Visit Italy has prepared for you.
How to go to the Venice Carnival: welcome to the Serenissima
Are you planning a journey to discover the enchanting lagoon treasures and do you want to know how to go to the Venice Carnival? This prestigious event is characterized by a very ancient history, the origins of which derive historically from the Saturnalia, Roman religious festivities, and the Greek Dionysian cults. The Carnival of Venice is much-awaited within the vast panorama of the city's annual events, during which one can savour the splendor and sparkling, transgressive, and effervescent atmospheres typical of the society and noble palaces of the Serenissima in the 18th century. Find out how to go to the Venice Carnival with us.
The Venice Carnival has a distinctive identity and traditional iconographic elements, such as famous and elegant masks and refined costumes. These magnificent outfits spread during the Renaissance period during the festivities and lively shows organized by the Compagnie delle Calze, circles dedicated to the entertainment of young aristocrats to liven up city life. The first historical document concerning the celebration of the Venetian Carnival and mentioning the term for the first time is a decree promulgated by Doge Vitale Falier in 1904, laying down rules to ensure public safety during the festivities. The first attestation of the Carnival of Venice as a public holiday dates back to 1296 when the Senate of the Serenissima promulgated a decree recognizing it as such.
The peculiarity of this historical phase was the exceptional duration of the event, which was about six weeks, from 26 December, the day dedicated by the Catholic Church to devotion to St Stephen, to Ash Wednesday. During the 13th century and, in particular, from 1271, the first schools dedicated to training the professional figure of the so-called mascarero, the craftsman specialized in the production of the splendid masks, and the workshops used to make the tools needed to work the materials arose. During the 18th century, the Venetian Carnival reached the height of fame and prestige at the international level.
Follow our detailed guide, which will provide you with all the advantageous information you need about how to go to the Venice Carnival.
How to go to the Venice Carnival from out of town
If you are looking for the most convenient solution regarding how to go to the Venice Carnival, there are many options from which you can choose. If you are in a location not too far from the gem of the Venetian lagoon, you might prefer the train as a means of transport. The city's railway stations are Venezia Mestre and Santa Lucia, which will guide you to the heart of the magnificent Venice Carnival. It would also be advisable to book well in advance, especially for regional routes.
If you do not live near Venice and wish to attend the Venice Carnival, you could prefer a plane, taking off from one of two airports, Marco Polo in Tessera and Sant'Angelo in Treviso. The first airport is 12 km from the capital of the Veneto region. You can reach it either by city buses of the Atvo Air Terminal and Actv 5 lines, by the Mestre Express shuttle bus, or by car via the SS515 state road, which then joins the motorway, carrying on towards Padua. In the case of Treviso's Sant'Angelo Airport, it is possible to travel by shuttle bus, which makes the direct journey in 40 minutes and terminates at the Mestre and Venice Tronchetto train stations, by taxi or by renting a car and traveling along the A4 motorway.
It is also possible to travel from Marco Polo airport to the city center, the stage of the famous Venice carnival, by taking the Alilaguna steamboat, which stops at San Marco, Rialto, Fondamenta Nuove, and Le Guglie.
There are three motorways to get to Venice by car: the A4, the A57, and the A27. Once you have arrived at your destination, you can park your vehicle at the San Marco garage in Piazzale Roma, the Tronchetto Garage on the island of the same name, the Autorimessa Comunale and Saba Venezia Mestre Stazione. The most advantageous option is to park your vehicle in Marghera or Mestre and take the bus to the center.
How to get around Venice to participate in the Carnival
The ideal way to move around Venice and visit the famous Carnival, having the opportunity to contemplate unique panoramic views, is to go on foot. Another means of transport you can choose is the gondola ferry, which, for €2 one way, will allow you to cross the Gran Canal and go from one bank to the other. You can use this convenient service at the Dogana, Santa Maria del Giglio, San Tomà, Riva del Carbon, Riva del Vin, and Santa Sofia stations.
Moreover, you can also take the steamer to get to the main places where the Venice Carnival occurs and the attractions in the center. Lines 1 and 2, operated by ACTV, run through the central areas via the Giudecca Canal and the Grand Canal, while lines 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, and 6 travel on the Lido, Murano, Arsenale, Fondamenta Nuove, Zattere and Giardini routes.
You can purchase tickets valid for 24 hours for both waterbuses and buses at € 20. Tickets for 48 hours cost € 30, while the prize is € 40 for three days and for seven days € 60.
The main events of the Venice Carnival
The 2023 edition of the Venice Carnival, from February 4 to 21, will be held under the banner of a so-called "diffuse" festival, that is, with the distribution of events in the various municipalities of the Metropolitan City of Venice. In this way, a single program of attractions will be offered to the public and the influx of visitors can be distributed in a safer and more balanced way, which will also promote the development of tourism in the mainland areas around the lagoon.
This choice has also revolutionized the main shows for this year: for organizational reasons, the famous Flight of the Angel and the Flight of the Eagle in St. Mark's Square will not be held, nor will the Svolo del Leon with the flag of the Republic of Venice hoisted on the bell tower.
In 2023 the carnival theme will be "Take your Time for the Original Signs": a reference to the constellations and zodiac signs, in search of those ancestral symbols that have accompanied us and influenced our lives for millennia, as well as an invitation to everyone to enjoy their time for those activities that make us happy.
When you find yourself there and have realized your dream of going to the Venice Carnival, you will be spoiled for choice in attending a whole series of traditional events that make this festival unique in the world. The event will open with the "Opening Parade" on the evening of Feb. 4, featuring an evocative parade on the water of traditional Venetian carnival characters: symbolic masks and costumes, monsters and dreamlike figures, fireworks and flying spheres.
This will be followed on Feb. 5 by the Venetian festival on water, a procession of the main ancient boats that have been crossing the Grand Canal for centuries during Carnival: among them, the giant papier-mâché Pantegana representing the liberation of the Venetian people from the plague in 1348.
Another highlight is "Original Signs," the water show on Feb. 10 at the Venice Arsenal, the ancient shipyard complex of the maritime republic: it will be a surreal light and image show, using videomapping techniques for a visually stunning artistic experience, with the presence of artists and jugglers to make it a moment not to be missed.
On Feb. 11, however, it is the turn of the selection of the 12 Marie, or the most beautiful girls from the province of Venice who will be presented to the city and parade on stage in historical costumes. The winner of the competition will be awarded on February 21.
Over the course of the two-week program you can then take part in a number of popular street events and collateral initiatives: the Carnival Street Show, a fair of juggling and street art performances with clowns, stilt-walkers and fairy-tale characters all along the territory and particularly in Piazza Ferretto in Mestre.
There will be also the parade of floats, the Carnival of Culture with a busy program of artistic and musical reviews at Venice's cultural institutes, and for those with a sweet tooth there will also be the Carnival of Taste initiative: bars, taverns and food and wine stands will offer visitors the culinary specialties of the Carnival tradition, such as fritole and galani.
You will therefore have room to express your enthusiasm in all possible ways, from dressing up to gastronomy, from culture to music, from goliardia and joking to art and the beauty of the Venetian calli. You will just have to follow your instincts and enjoy this wonderful Italian event that the whole world envies appreciates and loves.
Going to the Venice Carnival with children
Participating in an event like carnival is always a time of joy and fun for everyone, an opportunity to let loose and rediscover our childlike side among confetti, trumpets and pranks to play on those around us. If in your case you have decided to go to the Venice Carnival with children, you will find that it will be a unique experience for your whole family.
Of course, masks and costumes are among the main reasons that attract children to the carnival: in Venice they will be able to indulge themselves by dressing up as Harlequin, dame or duchess, Doge of Venice, Lion and so on. Very interesting are the workshops for kids organized in traditional mask making workshops, where each child can manually create his or her own mask and take it home as a travel souvenir. Also of great importance is the "Contest of the most beautiful mask," which allows children to parade along the main streets of the city.
A not-to-be-missed kermesse for the little ones is then the International Kids' Carnival: it is staged every year in two venues, respectively in Venice at the Biennale venue and in Mestre at the Centro Civico del Parco Albanese: here shows, games, musical activities and theater workshops will entertain children and youngsters with a wide calendar of events throughout the carnival.
We at Visit Italy advise you first of all to book your lodging in time and plan your trips to do with the children. The Venice Carnival is always a fairly crowded event, but if you can avoid weekends or rush hours you will be able to move around with them in a more relaxed manner. Although moving around the city on foot is the best way to enjoy the festivities, we advise you to avoid long trips so as not to put a strain on their stamina: if necessary, it is best to alternate with a vaporetto or so-called water cabs to reach other parts of the lagoon. For little ones, it is best to keep the use of strollers to a minimum, as they are not really suitable for places where you move quickly and find yourself in large crowds.
Venice Pass is Visit Italy's exclusive service to visit Venice
Both during the Venice Carnival and throughout the year, Visit Italy offers you the opportunity to book a whole range of interesting attractions in the city of Venice, including visits to the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, gondola rides or boat transfers from one part of Venice to another.
In particular, you can take advantage of the Venice Pass, which gives you access to the main transportation services in the metropolitan city of Venice with a single pass including admissions to the main tourist attractions and a large number of restaurants and wine bars at a competitive price, saving you a great deal on the public prices of the same services. So if you are thinking about how to go to the Venice Carnival and are planning to experience the city at its best, the Venice Pass is the solution for you.
In order to get your Venice Pass you must follow three simple steps: download the dedicated app on your smartphone, choose the version of the pass that best suits your needs, and scan the code displayed each time you need to access one of the available attractions. In the Venice Pass you will also find an audiotour that will guide you to discover the differences between the Venice of yesterday and today, while also enjoying a 10 percent discount on other tickets to Venice attractions.
Book now the Venice Pass❯
How to get around the Venice Carnival without getting stuck
The famous Venice Carnival is a rite that attracts visitors from all over the world. Therefore, before embarking on a journey to discover this collective feast, characterized by a riot of bright colors, beautiful costumes, and colorful masks, we advise you to plan your departure to move with greater peace of mind.
Would you like to know how to go to the Venice Carnival without getting stuck? Since the most important events and shows take place on weekends, it would be best to avoid the crowd of tourists who come to the city during these days. We also suggest you attend the Venice Carnival on Shrove Thursday and Shrove Tuesday to witness the highlight of the festival.
In the period of greatest turnout, the picturesque alleys and the scenic squares of the Serenissima are crammed with people who stroll along the well-known streets and routes.
It would be a good idea to map out a route by preferring shortcuts and side streets to move between the city's areas and districts easily and quickly and to attend the most outstanding events, admiring the beauty and artistic-architectural masterpieces and splendid historical Venetian palaces.
How to go to the Venice Carnival: useful information to remember
Preparing yourself properly and finding the right way about how to go to the Venice Carnival will make you experience the best of the excitement that this wonderful event offers to thousands of visitors every year.
Below is a brief summary of all the things to remember when planning your trip. Happy carnival with Visit Italy!
· How to go to the Venice Carnival: an event of great historical and cultural interest, able to make you relive the splendour of elegant and refined eras while enjoying the beauty of Venetian and Italian culture.
· Getting to the Venice Carnival from outside the city: choose between Marco Polo Airport in Venice and Sant'Angelo Airport in Treviso, use city buses or the shuttle bus to reach the city, or opt for the A4, A57, and A27 highways if you plan to travel by car.
· How to get around Venice to participate in the Carnival: move around on foot as much as possible, alternating between using gondolas ferries, water buses, and water cabs.
· Carnival’s main events: from February 4 to 21, the calendar is full of attractions, events, and shows not to be missed. Prepare a personal to-do list to get everything under control with each outing.
· Going to the Venice Carnival with children: book everything in advance and remember the needs of the little ones. Avoid the use of strollers and alternate walking with easier transportation services. The International Kid’s Carnival is the perfect event to entertain children and teens in the most engaging way.
· The Venice Pass, Visit Italy's service for visiting Venice: check out our Venice Pass service to get a single pass at a favorable price, including admissions to the city's main sights.
· How to go to the Venice Carnival without getting bottled up: take a good look at the map of the central areas of the festival to know how best to move around during peak attendance hours. Avoid weekends if possible to avoid intercepting the peak tourist flow.