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.
Many of these events may be canceled in 2020, so be sure to check the organizer's website for the latest details.
The Regata Storica, which means Historical Regatta, is Venice's most exciting gondola race. During this event you'll see teams of gondoliers, sometimes wearing costumes, racing a course along the Grand Canal and before the race begins, a floating procession of costumed characters will glide 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.
The months-long contemporary art extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale begins in June but lasts until November. However, it only occurs every other year during odd-numbered years. Even if you're not an art aficionado, the Biennale presents interesting, unusual, and thought-provoking works that you can see during your visit in September.
The Venice Film Festival is an annual world-famous film festival that begins in late August and lasts through 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 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 during the event are markedly higher during this period.
There will also be a short-film showcase during the first week of September, which includes screenings of lesser-known shorts, plus film competitions, and panels with the directors, producers, and cast members.
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. Here, you can go shopping for some beautiful and unique glass pieces. At the end of the week, prizes will be awarded to celebrate some of the world's best glass artists.
Festival of the Triumph of the Cross
September 14 is a holy day in Venice that celebrates the cross as an instrument of salvation. On this day, there will be a massive procession of people that begins at the church San Giovanni Evangelista in the San Polo district. Even if you are not religious, it is worth stopping by to see in person.
Similar to Venice's Regata Storica, this thrilling race takes place on the island of Burano, near Venice, during the third weekend of September. At the same time as the Regata, you can also enjoy the Sagra del Pesce di Burano, a fishy feast that coincides with the race. Here, you will find lots of fried fish paired with white wine being sold at stands in front of Burano’s famous brightly colored houses. You may also be able to spot some rowers celebrating success after the race with a fried snack.