Carnival two weeks before Lent
Vogalonga festival in May
Festa del Redentore

Festivals

Although many of Venice's traditional festivals have fixed dates, the city is also home to an ever-changing series of cultural events. The National Call Centre is a direct number for information on events, shows and exhibitions. The operators are very helpful and speak English, French, German, Spanish as well as Italian. If calling from Italy use the free phone number 800 117700 (open 8am - 11pm). However, if calling from abroad, the number is 0039 06 419 007.

Calendar of Events

January - March

New Year on the beach. It is a long-standing tradition for Venetians to meet their friends and family on the beach to wish one another Happy New Year. Many bring food and wine and have a party.

The winter peace is briefly disturbed by the CARNIVAL (www.carnivalofvenice.com). This is two weeks before Lent. It lasts for 10 days, during which times masks are donned and the whole city becomes a stage set for exotic costumes, pageants and concerts, culminating on Shrove Tuesday with a huge masked ball in the Piazza and a fire-work display over the Bacino di San Marco. Masks and costumes can be hired in Venice.

April

St Mark's Day (25th April)
This is when the gondoliers hold a race between Sant'Elena and the Punta della Dogana. It is traditional to eat rice and peas but not obligatory!

May

Spring is a good time for concerts at the Palafenice and in many churches. Our favourite event of the season is the VOGALONGA which is held on the first Sunday after Ascension Day. A colourful armada of rowing craft from all over the world embarks on a 32 km (20 mile) route around the lagoon's scattered islands. This non-competitive race is a great experience for both participants and on-lookers.

June

Every other year, June sees the start of the BIENNALE. This is an exhibition of contemporary and avant-garde art that first took place in 1895. It is held in 40 permanent pavilions in the Giardini Pubblici (public gardens), as well as numerous city venues such as churches and palazzo. The event lasts until November. For further details of the Biennale, check out the website: www.labiennale.org or telephone the Biennale organisation on 041-521 8711.

July - September

FESTA DEL REDONTORE (3rd weekend in July). This takes place on the Zattere, almost directly outside the apartment. People crowd on to all available watercraft, decorated with paper lanterns and greenery. People eat a feast of roast duck and watermelon and enjoy a mid-night fireworks display. Our rooftop terrace provides a unique and private spot from which to view them. For those on foot, a temporary pontoon bridge stretches from Zattere over the Giudecca canal to the church of Il Redontore.

Assumption: at Ferragosto, 15 August. This is celebrated in a classical music concert in the cathedral on the island of Torcello.

Late August/early September is time for celebrity-spotting time on the Lido! It is the start of the Venice Film Festival. For more details visit www.labiennale.org or telephone on 041-521 8711.

On the first Sunday in September the Regata Storica (historical regatta) opens with a spectacular of traditional boats on the Grand Canal, with rowers in costumes. This is a particularly enjoyable event and enjoyed by people of all ages. Another interesting event is the antiques fair on Campo San Maurizio. Held on 11 - 12 September, here you will find fabulous silverware and jewellery for sale.

November - December

In late autumn, the ballet, classical music and operatic seasons are underway. The most famous venue is the legendary LA FENICE opera house which reopened in 2004 after the devastating fire of 1996. You can contact them directly, but tickets for major productions sell out quickly so it is a good idea to book early. www.teatrolafenice.it or through Hello Venezia! Call centre on 0039 041 2424.

The ballet season runs from November to June.

Finally, the other major music venues are the Teatro Malibran (0039 041 786 764) and Tearo Goldoni (0039 041 240 2011). A large number of classical concerts and held all over the city in churches, scuole, palaces and cultural centres.

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