Tips for Going to Carnevale in Venice

Plan Your Trip to Venice's Carnival

Group on Salute Steps Venice Carnival celebration
••• Darrell Gulin/Getty Images

Venice Carnevale is Italy's top carnival or mardi gras celebration. Carnevale season lasts several weeks, culminating on the day of Carnival or Shrove Tuesday. During carnival season, Venice is filled with costumed characters, entertainment, boat parades, and food stalls so even if you don't attend any of the parties or masquerade balls, it's definitely a fun time to visit.

Tips for Visiting Venice During Carnevale Season

  • Plan ahead and book your hotel well in advance for Carnevale season. Check these Top Rated Venice Hotels or look for Venice Hotels on Hipmunk. Hotels often charge high season prices during Carnevale season.
  • Carnevale is a laid back affair in Venice, not very rowdy even when the city is packed. There's lots of awesome public entertainment, especially starting in early evening.
  • People wearing elaborate costumes and masks hang out all over town so there's lots to see just by walking around. For the best Carnevale experience, wear a costume or at least a mask yourself. It's easy to buy an inexpensive mask once you're in Venice.
  • Although the main events are centered around Piazza San Marco, Carnevale events are held in every Sestiere so be sure to visit other areas of Venice. A fireworks show held in Piazza San Marco culminates Carnevale and the fireworks can be seen from almost anywhere in Venice.
  • Most high-end hotels hold masked balls, smaller and more private than the public events. They'll also engage someone to make your costume. Attendance at a ball, including a costume, can run about 500 euro but is a once-in-a-lifetime eexperience. Most formal Carnevale events, private parties, and masquerade balls require reservations ahead of time.
  • Betsy Malloy, California Travel, went to Venice Carnevale in 2009. She recommends staying in Venice from the Wednesday through the Saturday prior to Carnevale. There's lots going on before the actual Carnevale date, including plenty of entertainment and costumed characters. You'll avoid the biggest crowds but still enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
  • Carnevale dates change every year, corresponding with Shrove Tuesday forty days before Easter. Check Carnevale dates through 2020 and go to the Venice Carnival site for updated event information.
  • Carnevale is a winter event, so weather may be cold or rainy - see Venice Weather for average temperatures and rainfall.

Carnevale Celebrations in Italy

Carnevale is celebrated all over Italy in a variety of ways, some very unusual. Read more about Carnevale traditions and top Carnevale Festivals in Italy.