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Venice Carnival (Carnevale di Venezia) 2022

February 12 - March 1

Venice Carnival carnivals 2019

Juxtapose one of the most beautiful cities in the world alongside one of the most colourful and exciting carnivals globally and it has to be a winning formula. Masked costumed revellers intermingling in St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, or sailing along the Grand Canal, create a spectacle not to be missed – the Venice Carnival (Carnevale di Venezia).

The festival is shceduled to go ahead from 12 February to 1 March, however due to the ongoing Covid pandemic it is best to check up at  for the latest information.

It has been confirmed that this will be ahybrid event with the theme of Remember the Future, under the Artistic Direction of Massimo Checchetto, inspired by a Salvador Dali quote.

Origins of the Venice Carnival (Carnevale di Venezia)

So how did one of the most famous carnivals in the world begin? It is thought the festivities first started in 1162 after the Republic of Venice won a significant battle and citizens gathered in St Mark’s Square to feast and dance. The Carnival did not officially come of birth however until the Renaissance, and in 1797, it was outlawed by The Holy Roman Emperor.

The 19th Century saw a fresh beginning when the carnival was revitalised with the stated aim of celebrating creative art and feasting. Finally, in 1979 the Venice Carnival was established annually to celebrate Venetian culture.

Venice Carnival
A bird’s eye view of the carnival ©Andrea Pattaro/Vision

Venice Carnival Masks

The wearing of masks is a central part of the fun and adds a surreal feel to the carnival events. La Maschera Più Bella (“the most beautiful mask”) is judged annually by a group of international fashion and costume designers.

Originally, it is thought, the idea of making masks came from Venetian students with the aim of making money from the tourist trade. The masks also protected the wearer’s class, and not necessarily identity, from being guessed. Traditionally the masks were made from leather, porcelain or Venetian glass. These proved to be on the expensive side, so cheaper versions became available.

There are many different types of masks, but some of the most famous are the Bauta mask, which covers the whole face and provides total anonymity, the Colombina which covers the eyes and upper cheeks, the Medico della Peste, with its bizarre huge beak, originally used to protect against the plague and the Zanni, a half mask with a low forehead, bulging eyebrows and a long nose. Such masks provide the Venice Carnival with its unique enchantment, even if sometimes they are quite grotesque in appearance.

Venice Carnival 2018
Venice Carnival
Festa Delle Marie, Venice Carnival

In 2018, a couple from Milan won the competition for the best mask with their theme ‘Love at the Time of Campari’. Seven hundred masked rowers took part in the Water Parade and a thousand guests attended the Official Dinner Show and Ball at Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. Altogether in 2018, sponsors supported 150 performances with 270 artists at seven different city locations.

Can’t make this carnival, then try our round-up of the best carnivals around the world.

Venice Carnival 2020 Dates

The festival is shceduled to go ahead from 12 February to 1 March, however due to the ongoing Covid pandemic it is best to check up at  for the latest information.

The 2022 Carnival will be a hybrid event but the following activities will NOT take place in 2022:

  • The “Venetian festival” in Rio di Cannaregio canal on Saturday evening and the
    water parade in the Grand Canal on Sunday morning;
  • The big animated stages of Piazza San Marco and Piazza Ferretto;
  • The procession of the Marias and the parade of the Bull;
  • The flight of the Angel, the flight of the Eagle, and the flight of the Lion;
  • The allegorical parades in Lido, Marghera, Campalto, Zelarino, Pellestrina, and Burano

Details below are for the 2020 Carnival. We will update them for 2023.

In 2020, The Festa delle Marie beauty contest and parade starts at 2:30pm on 15 February at San Pietro di Castello, with the award ceremony on 25 February. The Best Mask competition begins on 20 February and concludes on 26 February. It is free to enter, but you need to fill in a form in advance.

Flight of the Angel
The Flight of the Angel © Andrea Pattaro/Vision

The Flight of the Angel, when the winner of the previous year’s Festa Delle Marie flies from the clock tower of St Mark’s Basilica will take place on 16 February, with the Flight of the Eagle, when a man takes to the air, on 23 February.

There are also a series of Carnival dinner and balls throughout the festival. The Mascheranda Grand Ball, possibly the most decadent date in the Venice Carnival calendar also takes place on 23 February. The festival also incoludes street carnivals and Burano Carnival for the kids.

More information on the full programme and dress etiquette for the balls can be found here.

Alternatively, why not visit the Battle of the Oranges Festival in Ivrea, Italy.

Tickets for the Venice Carnival

Tickets for the Dinner and Balls can be bought here.

Photo Gallery

Accommodation in Venice

If you are looking for accommodation for the Venice Carnival please fill in the form below.

More information on the Venice Carnival

For anything else on the Venice Carnival, click here.


February 12
March 1
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