September is a fantastic time to visit Venice. The weather is more pleasant than in the hot summer months, and the city is abuzz with autumn events. From the cinematic spotlight of the annual Venice Film Festival to the buzz surrounding the Regata Storica di Venezia, Venice's biggest boat racing event of the year, and the celebration of the arts at La Biennale, there is no shortage of fun and interesting events and festivals in the Canal City in early autumn.
Events and Festivals Held in Early September
- Regata Storica di Venezia. The Regata Storica (Historical Regatta), Venice's most exciting gondola race, sees teams of gondoliers (some decked out in costume) racing a course along the Grand Canal. Prior to the race, a floating procession of costumed characters passes through the Grand Canal. Accompanied by food, music, and lively fanfare, the Regata Storica is a fun event to catch if you're in Venice on the first Sunday in September. For more updated information about the races, including how to get a seat on one of the floating viewing stands, visit the Regata Storica di Venezia website.
- La Biennale d’Arte Contemporanea & Architettura (Venice Biennale). The months-long contemporary art extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale begins in June every other year during odd-numbered years and runs through November. Even if you're not an art aficionado, the Biennale presents interesting, unusual and thought-provoking works. In even-numbered years, the Biennale focuses on architecture.
- Venice International Film Festival. The Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica) is an annual world-famous film festival held in late-August/early September. It brings in a bevy of Hollywood and international celebrities to grace the gondolas and red carpets of the Canal City. Held over a period of 11 days, the culmination is a prize awarded to the winning film, called the Leon d'Oro (The Golden Lion). Past Leon d'Oro recipients have included Akira Kurosawa, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Altman, Ang Lee, and Sofia Coppola. Tickets to the most star-studded screenings are hard to come by, but your odds of spotting a celebrity or two in Venice are markedly higher during this period.
- Venice Glass Week. This week-long festival in early September celebrates Venice's centuries-long tradition of glassmaking, with tours, demonstrations, and exhibits taking place in locations across Venice, Murano, and Mestre.
- Venice International Short Film Festival. Part of the Venice's feature film festival, this short-film showcase during the first week of September includes screenings of lesser-known shorts, plus film competitions, and panels with the directors, producers, and cast members.
- Teatro La Fenice. Venice's historic opera house has a full schedule of events nearly year-round, including several ballets, classical concerts, and operas in September.
Events and Festivals Held in Mid to Late September
- Festival of the Triumph of the Cross. This holy day, September 14, is marked with a procession at the church and the Grand School (Scuola Grande) of San Giovanni Evangelista in the Sestiere di San Polo. Even if you are not religious, it is worth stopping by to see the impressive procession.
- Regata di Burano. Similar to Venice's Regata Storica, this thrilling race takes place on the island of Burano, near Venice, during the third weekend of September.
- Sagra del Pesce di Burano. This fishy feast is held at the same time as the Regata di Burano, and is, of course, located on the island of Burano. You will find lots of fried fish paired with white wine being consumed between Burano’s famous brightly colored houses. You may also be able to spot some rowers celebrating success after the race.