Venice is a magical city any time of year. The rest of the world seems to have discovered this, and La Serenissima–"the most serene", as the city is nicknamed–is usually crowded with visitors year-round. Despite chilly, humid weather, March is a popular time in Venice, thanks in part to the city's renowned festivals and events.
Here are some of the most important events in Venice taking place in March.
Early March - Carnevale and beginning of Lent. Carnevale and Lent can be one of the most exciting times to be in Venice. Travelers from all around the world crowd into Venice for Italy's most famous Carnival celebrations, which include masquerade balls, parades on both land and in the canals, food fairs, children's carnivals and numerous other activities. Events start several weeks before the actual date of Carnevale on Shrove Tuesday, culminating on Martedi grasso, or Fat Tuesday. Learn more about Carnevale dates by year and the traditions of the Venice Carnevale and Carnevale in Italy.
March 8 - Festa della Donna. International Women's Day is often celebrated in Italy by groups of women leaving the men at home and going out to dinner together, So if you want to eat at a particular restaurant in Venice on March 8, it's a good idea to make a reservation in advance. Some restaurants serve a special menu on this day, too.
Mid- to Late-March - 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. Visitors may also wish to attend mass in Saint Mark's Basilica on Easter.
Read more about Easter Traditions in Italy.
March 19 - Festa di San Giuseppe. The Feast Day of Saint Joseph (the father of Jesus) is also known as Father's Day in Italy. Traditions on this day include children giving gifts to their fathers and the consumption of zeppole (sweet fried dough, similar to a doughnut).
Year-round opera and classical music performances. Because so much classical and opera music was written in or set in Venice, it's one of the great cities in Europe in which to see a performance. Venice's legendary opera house, La Fenice, stages performances year-round. If you're not ready to spend €100 or more on an opera or classical performance, there are less expensive performances in churches and music schools across the city. On Venice's busier streets, you'll encounter people in elaborate period costumes trying to sell you tickets to these performances. An evening spent at one of these concerts can be equally enchanting as a more costly performance.
Updated by Elizabeth Heath