Venice is famously crowded with tourists year-round, and August is no exception. Many art-lovers and celebrities flock here for the Venice Biennale and the world-famous Venice International Film Festival, which usually takes place at the end of August.
If you plan on being in Venice in August, you'll likely get caught up in some of the activity around the month's famous and lesser-known events. If there's something you don't want to miss, then be sure to reserve your hotel room, transportation and event tickets well in advance.
The months-long contemporary art extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale begins in June during odd-numbered years and runs through November. The entire city comes alive, with art exhibits, installations, lectures and happenings in venues across the city. In even-numbered years, the Biennale is dedicated to architecture, and large-scale installations appear all over the islands.
This national holiday, held on August 15, marks the peak of the summer holidays for most Italians. Ferragosto, which falls on the religious holiday of Assumption, is the time when local Venetians head to the beach, lakes, or mountains to escape the heat and mosquitoes that the height of summer brings. While most of Venice will remain open for the tourist business, you might find some smaller restaurants, bars and shops closed during the week or two before or after August 15.
Starting in late August, the stars turn out in full force, on gondolas, water taxis and red carpets for the Venice International Film Festival. The prize given for the winning film is the prestigious 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 and tickets to screenings are tough to come by. But even if you don't see a premiering film, your chances of spotting a celebrity in Venice are markedly higher during the festival.
Cinema Under the Stars
From late July to late August, you'll find outdoor movies and concerts in several squares around Venice. The majority of films are screened on Campo San Polo, and several English-language films are usually included in the line-up. Stop by Campo San Polo during the day and look for the ticket office.
There's always a major headliner at this prestigious summer jazz festival—past luminaries have included Sting, Pat Metheny, and Wynton Marsalis. Ticketed events are held across the city, but watch for impromptu jam sessions on piazzas and in bars and restaurants.
Marghera Village Estate
If you find yourself on the mainland on a sultry summer night, head to Piazza Mercato in the Marghera section of mainland Venice. Throughout the month of August, Marghera Village Estate hosts outdoor films, many of which premier at the Venice International Film Festival.
Based on the original article by Melanie Renzulli.