If you're considering a trip to Venice in January, know that the weather may not be the best. Temperatures average 6C (about 43F) and it often rains. But the pluses of visiting Venice in January are many. The tourist influx slows down a great deal after the first of the year, and since cruise season is over, the city is not packed with ship passengers out for day tours. Plus, there are several fun holidays and festivals.
Here is a list of the top festivals and events that happen each January in Venice.
January 1 – New Year's Day. New Year's Day is a national holiday in Italy. Most shops, museums, restaurants, and other services will be closed so that Venetians can recover from New Year's Eve Festivities. On New Year's Day, hundreds of bathers take a bracing, brief morning dip in the chilly waters of Lido di Venezia (Venice Beach).
January 6 – Epiphany and Befana. A national holiday, Epiphany is officially the 12th day of Christmas and one on which Italian children celebrate the arrival of La Befana, a good witch, who brings a stocking full of candy and usually a gift. In Venice, Befana is also celebrated with a regatta – La Regata delle Befane – a competition where senior oarsmen (they must be age 55 or older) dress up like La Befana and race row boats in the Grand Canal. Read more about La Befana and Epiphany in Italy.
January 17 – Saint Anthony's Day (Festa di San Antonio Abate). The Feast Day of Saint Antonio Abate celebrates the patron saint of butchers, domestic animals, basketmakers, and gravediggers. In Venice, this feast day traditionally marks the start of the Carnevale season.