April can be a very pleasant time to visit Venice. The tourist crowds aren't usually too big yet and the weather is usually fairly mild although the last week of the month, known as the ponte or bridge between the 2 holidays of April 25 and May 1, is a time when many Italians take vacation so the city tends to fill up then.
Here are the festivals, holidays, and events that happen each April in Venice.
April 1 is known as Pesce d'aprile, or April fish, and celebrated like in the US with practical jokes.
Early April – Holy Week and Easter. Tourists, rather than locals, tend to crowd Venice around Easter time. But that doesn't mean that you cannot take in some lovely pageants, classical music concerts, and Easter services in Venice during Holy Week. One moving event, the Benedizione del Fuoco, is held on Thursday evening of Holy Week at Saint Mark's Basilica. The lights of the cathedral are turned off and a fire is lit in the entrance and there is a blessing of the four elements. Visitors may also wish to attend mass in Saint Mark's Basilica on Easter but the church may be crowded so be sure to arrive early. Read more about Easter Traditions in Italy.
Mid-April – Culture Week. The Settimana delle Beni Culturali is a week celebrated all over Italy, in which state-run museums and monuments are open for free and, sometimes, for longer hours.
Some museums in Venice that participate include the Accademia, the Ca d'Oro, and the Archeological Museum, among many others. Check the Beniculturali website for definitive dates as it is sometimes cancelled.
April 25 – Festa di San Marco and the Boccolo. April 25 is a busy day on the Venetian calendar.
Saint Mark, Venice's patron saint, is feted on this day with a gondoliers' regatta, with commemorations of the saint at Saint Mark's Basilica, and festivities in Saint Mark's Square. Tradition also holds that the Saint Mark's Day is the day on which men give their wives or girlfriends the "bocolo," the bloom of the red rose. (It is not uncommon for Venetian boys to give a single rosebud to their mothers on April 25.). Sometimes a giant red rose is formed by humans wearing red (or green for the stem) in Saint Mark's Square, which is very beautiful when viewed from above.
April 25 - Liberation Day. The national holiday for Liberation Day is celebrated all over Italy. It marks the anniversary that Venice and the rest of Italy was liberated at the end of World War II. Many businesses may be closed but most museums and places of interest to the tourist are usually open.
Looking Ahead: May 1 - Labor Day. May 1 is another national holiday, as well as a holiday in much of Europe, and it brings huge crowds of Italian and European tourists to the city. On this holiday some museums will be closed so check in advance. Editor's Note: I was once in Venice on May 1 and it was the most crowded I've ever seen it. Saint Mark's Square was so dense with tourists that it was almost impossible to move. If you'll still be in Venice on May 1, consider staying away from Venice's top tourist attractions.
Continue: May Events in Venice
Editor's Note: This article has been edited and updated by Martha Bakerjian