June is a huge month for festivals around the world, and Venice is no exception. Most notably, this is the month when the Venice Biennale begins (every other year, in odd-numbered years). Also note that June 2, Republic Day, is a national holiday, so many businesses, including museums and restaurants, will be closed.
Here's an overview of some of the biggest annual and semi-annual festivals that Venetians celebrate in June, and how you can participate or observe them as a tourist.
June 2: Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day)
This big national holiday 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. The majority 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 have plans 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. While the biggest celebrations happen in the capital city of Rome, many visitors from other parts of Italy come to Venice on this day to escape the foreign tourists.
Early June (every other year in odd-numbered years) is the La Biennale.
The 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.
Read more about the Venice Biennale.
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 amongst 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.
Art Night Venezia
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.