June is a huge month for festivals across Italy, and Venice is no exception. Most notably, this is the month when the Venice Biennale begins. Also note that June 2, Republic Day, is a national holiday, so many businesses, including museums and restaurants, will be closed or have reduced hours.
Here's an overview of some of the biggest annual and semi-annual festivals that Venetians celebrate in June.
This big national holiday in Italy is akin to Independence Day in the United States or Bastille Day in France.
Festa della Repubblica commemorates Italy becoming a republic in 1946 following the end of World War II. A majority of Italians voted for the republic (instead of a monarchy) and a few years later, June 2 was declared a holiday as the day the Italian Republic was created.
Banks, many shops, and some restaurants, museums, and tourist sites will be closed or have modified hours on June 2. If you plan to visit a site or museum, check its website in advance to see if it's open.
Across Italy, Republic Day is marked by parades, concerts, and festivals including fireworks displays.
Early June (every other year in odd-numbered years) is the La Biennale, a months-long contemporary art extravaganza runs through November.
The main site of the Biennale is the Giardini Pubblici (the Public Gardens), where permanent pavilions for more than 30 countries have exhibitions, performances, and installations associated with the Biennale art expo, which takes take place around the city in various museums and galleries.
In addition to the art expo, the Biennale includes a dance series, a kids' carnival a contemporary music festival, a theater festival, and the Venice International Film Festival.
Palio of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics
If you want to witness a boat race rife with medieval pageantry, look for the Palio of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics, which Venice hosts in June every four years. Il Palio delle Quattro Antiche Repubbliche Marinare is an annual traditional regatta that shifts locations between the four ancient maritime republics: Venice, Genoa, Amalfi, and Pisa.
Preceding the boating competition is a parade, in which participants don medieval dress to march through the streets, complete with flag bearers, horses, drummers, and trumpeters.
Exactly 60 days after Easter, Catholics celebrate Corpus Domini, which honors the Holy Eucharist. In Venice, this feast day typically includes a long procession in and around Saint Mark's Square; this procession is believed to be the oldest Corpus Domini procession in Italy, dating back to 1317.
To ring in summer, Venice holds a Saturday night of free museum admissions, special events and concerts lasting until midnight or later, similar to White Nights held in other European cities. The event usually takes place the last or penultimate Saturday in June.
An offshoot of the art biennale (see above), the Biennale of Architecture is held every two years in even-numbered years. The themed event brings together the world's top architects and features large-scale, innovative architectural installations.
Starting in May and running into June, Veneto Jazz brings top musical artists of jazz, world music, folk and alternative to various venues around the city.
Typically held the last weekend in May or the first weekend in June, the Vogalonga sees thousands of Venetians and visitors take to their oars, by participating in a rowing relay along the Grand Canal. The event is a fun means of protesting the presence of motorized boats in Venice and calling attention to the damage they do to the city's ancient structures.