Venice is a visually stunning city, but it also has a rich cultural calendar, with festivals, concerts, and special religious observations nearly year-round. While the pre-lenten festival of Carnevale is Venice's most famous annual event, every month sees something going on in the Lagoon City.
Below is a month-to-month list highlighting the most important events during the year. Click on the month to see details of these and other events held during that month. You can also read our articles on When to Go to Venice and National Holidays in Italy to help plan your visit.
New Year's Day is quiet in Venice after the late-night celebrations. On January 6, Epiphany and la Befana are celebrated as they are everywhere in Italy but with a unique touch, La Regatta delle Befane. This marks the end of the Christmas and year-end celebrations in Italy, as kids go back to school and everyone returns to work after La Befana.
Events for Carnevale, Italy's mardi gras, start a couple of weeks before the actual date of Shrove Tuesday, so a carnival theme dominates the city in February. You'll see Venetians everywhere in elaborate masks and costumes, and may be tempted to join in yourself. On the 14th, celebrate Valentine's Day with a kiss at one of these top places to kiss in Venice.
Either Carnevale or Easter falls in March so celebrations revolve around these holidays, with the week before Easter being one of the most important periods on the Italian calendar. March 8 is Women's Day, Festa della Donna and March 19 is Saint Joseph's Day, also celebrated as Father's Day in Italy.
Easter sometimes falls in April, but the biggest day on the Venetian calendar is April 25, the feast day of Saint Mark, Venice's patron saint. Events include a gondoliers' regatta, commemorations at Saint Mark's Basilica, and festivities in Saint Mark's Square. On Saint Mark's Day men give their wives or girlfriends the "bocolo," the bloom of the red rose. April 25 is also Liberation Day, commemorating Italy's liberation at the end of World War II.
May 1, Labor Day, is a national holiday when many people Italians tourist destinations. Venice is very crowded this day, and some museums will be closed. The Festa della Sensa, commemorating Venice's marriage to the sea, takes place on the first Sunday after Ascension Day (40 days after Easter), followed by the Vogalonga, rowing race, the next weekend.
June 2 is a national holiday for Republic Day. The Biennale Art Expo opens in June of odd-numbered years, but in even-numbered years, there are biennales dedicated to architecture, dance and other arts. Towards the end of June every year, there's Art Night Venezia.
July's biggest festival is the Festa del Redentore, commemorating the end of the plague in 1576. Events center around the beautiful Redentore church on Giudecca island, which is temporarily connected to the rest of Venice by a pontoon bridge.
The traditional start of the Italian summer holidays is August 15, Ferragosto, and during this month there are outdoor concerts and movies. The famous Venice Film Festival usually starts at the end of the month.
September starts with the Historical Regatta, an exciting gondola race, and the Venice Film Festival is in full swing so you may run into some celebrities.
Opera season at La Fenice usually starts in October and you'll find some events and parties for Halloween at the end of the month.
November 1 is All Saints' Day, a public holiday. The Festa della Salute, held on November 21, is another big festival celebrating the end of the plague, this time in 1631.
The Christmas season starts December 8, a national holiday, and throughout the month you'll find Christmas markets and events as well as Hanukkah events early in the month, mainly in the Jewish Ghetto. The big finale on New Year's Eve takes place in Piazza San Marco, with a midnight fireworks show and lots of revelry.
Updated by Martha Bakerjian