Carnival of Venice

Carnival of Venice 2022 Dates, Events

Venice Carnival Festa Veneziana on the Water
Festa Veneziana on the Water

In 2022, the Carnival of Venice is from Saturday February 12th to Tuesday March 1st.

On this page go to:

A Different Carnival


The Carnival of Venice 2022 is a bit different and special, having the Artistic Direction of the set designer of Teatro La Fenice theater Massimo Checchetto.

Another piece of good news is that, unlike last year when Covid lockdown imposed events streamed live on videos online from Ca’ Vendramin Calergi Palace, overlooking the Grand Canal, the Carnival of Venice 2022 has offered some events open to the public.

The title of this year’s edition of the Carnival of Venice is “Remember the Future”, inspired by a quote by Salvador Dali. I suppose that, being a reduced version of the usual due to some restrictions, Carnival of Venice 2022 has been a memory of the glory of Venice Carnival looking at the same time to the future.

That’s probably why Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said that the administration “strongly wanted to do this Carnival, to send a message of hope especially to children.”

 


 

Three hotels in Venice with very high guest ratings and recommended by people who stayed there are:

Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo

Hotel Ca’ Dogaressa

Hotel Flora

For an extensive selection of hotels in Venice take a look at this:

View ample choice of hotels in Venice

 

2022 Carnival of Venice Live Events

 

This year there has been physical traditional events for participation in person as well as virtual events to involve those who want to participate remotely from all over the world.

Rather than being centered around that gigantic stage which is St Mark’s Square, as in past years, in 2022 Carnival of Venice events, shows, scenes, entertainments and activities are spread throughout the ancient city of Venice, on the islands and mainland.

The venues of the Carnival 2022 have been typical Venetian alleys (“calli”); small squares (“campielli”); passages connecting calli, other streets, courtyards and campielli obtained in the body of a building, eliminating a portion of height equal to the entire ground floor and containing small aedicules with sacred images and bas-reliefs in white marble (“sotoporteghi”); bridges; canals; stretches of road that run along a canal or a stream with moorings and steps descending into the water for docking of and access to boats (“fondamente”); porticoes; piazzas.

 

Carnival of Venice 2022 is from Saturday February 12th to Tuesday March 1st.

Note: For all events we give the Italian times, which are an hour later than the UK times. For the US contiguous states, depending on your zone, Italy times are anywhere between 9 hours earlier (further west) and 6 hours earlier (further east).

There are two main formats.

The first format is Venezia Wonder Time!.

 

Venezia Wonder Time!


During the weekends of the Carnival, February 12 Saturday and 13 Sunday, February 19 Saturday and 20 Sunday, and every day from Thursday February 24 to Tuesday March 1 an extensive program of outdoor performances including music, circus-theater, puppets, acrobatics and clowning has been held.

The time
From 11am to 1pm and from 3pm to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Shrove Tuesday; the other days only in the afternoon from 3pm to 7pm.

The places
Venice Ancient City:
Campo Santa Margherita, Campo San Giacomo, Esedra-Castello, San Geremia, San Cassiano, Campo dei Gesuiti, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Sant’Elena.

Mainland:
Mestre Piazza Ferretto, Largo Divisione Julia, Piazzale Donatori di Sangue, via Mestrina, via Palazzo.

Marghera (Piazza Mercato), Favaro (Piazza Municipio), Zelarino (Piazzale Maria Immacolata), Chirignago (Piazza S. Giorgio), Campalto (Piazzale San Benedetto), Tessera (Piazzale S. Maria Assunta)

Islands:
Lido di Venezia (Piazzetta Lepanto), Pellestrina (Piazzale Zendrini and San Pietro in Volta), Murano (Campo Santo Stefano) and Burano (Piazza Galuppi).

The performances are free.

 

Nebula Solaris, Water Show in Arsenale


The second format is entitled Nebula Solaris.

The Carnival of Venice’s traditional Festa Veneziana on the Water moves to the Venetian Arsenal (“Arsenale di Venezia” in Italian) in an astonishing open-air theater with a show on the water, the element with which the city has created its most intimate bond.

An evening of fire and water games in the beautiful scenery of the Basin of the Arsenal of Venice. Live acrobatic performances and light games creating a strong visual impact on the water space of the inner basin, through a dreamlike narrative with the elements of air, earth, water and fire producing visions of underwater worlds and future civilizations.

Performances on Friday 18, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 February and from Thursday 24 February to Tuesday 1 March with two daily replicas at 6.45pm and 9.15pm.

The events are limited in number and reservations are required.

 

Competitions, Cultural Events and Ice Skating Rinks


Other events include a contest of the most beautiful mask in St Mark’s Square, where there has been a scenography installation for the purpose of highlighting the persons parading in traditional Carnival costumes. Access is after accreditation, and there is also online voting.

There has also been the traditional competition “Festa delle Marie”, with the pre-selection of the 12 girls on Monday, February 14 at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. From the 19th the twelve Marie participated in various events. The final selection has taken place on Monday, February 28 at the Sale Apollinee of the Fenice Theater, with the proclamation of the winning Maria of Carnival 2022 and the Maria of the Gazzettino, voted by the readers of the Venice daily newspaper.

Cultural events in theaters and museums of the city and extraordinary evening openings of the Civic Museums; the classic dinner show at Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi, home of the Casino, with replicas on February 19 and 20 and from February 24 to March 1; ice skating rinks in Campo San Polo and Piazza Mercato in Marghera. Finally, the live online broadcasts by Prince Maurice and the actress Linda Pani, Angel of Carnival 2020.

 

Carnival of Venice Traditional Annual Events not Live in 2022

 

Festa Veneziana on the Water – First Part


Carnival of Venice. Festa Veneziana on the Water, first part
Carnival of Venice. Festa Veneziana on the Water, first part

The vast Festa veneziana on the water always opens the Carnival. The venue is the Rio di Cannaregio, one of Venice’s main waterways and most beautiful places.

For the occasion the splendid setting of the Cannaregio Canal at night literally becomes a water stage, with a display of floating structures smoothly moving on it.

And plenty more. Gigantic multicoloured jellyfish flying against the fabulous backdrop of Venetian palaces. Reflections of the water and of the lights on the dark walls of centuries-old buildings full of marvels. Boats driven by horses, ballerinas, flames.

Harlequins suspended in mid-air. Globes of air and light. Phantoms. Enormous, weightless butterfly-women dancing in the air. Magical white figures gliding on the water.

Rosy, jade, orange, turquoise, magenta, flamingo, indigo, ochre, peach, emerald, gold, aquamarine, crimson, lime, azure, carnation, pistachio, mauve, fuchsia, daffodil, juniper, ruby, purple lights. The balconies are full of them, the columns of their classical balustrades gleam with them.

Music, dance, joy along the Cannaregio shores.

The Festa Veneziana on the water is in two parts, one at night one by day.

The next day there will be the second part, and both pay homage to ancient local traditions.

Festa Veneziana on the Water – Second Part


This is a water parade (see top picture) of unique boats and masks sailing from Punta della Dogana along all the Canal Grande to the folkloristic and picturesque district of Cannaregio, a spectacle for the people, with music, rhythm and stalls providing traditional Carnival and Venetian food delicacies and specialities.

Men in costume row boats and gondolas in the shape of swans, hens, tigers, and other animals. Then comes the boat with the symbol of Venice, the Winged Lion of Saint Mark, as figurehead, holding the book of the evangelist who is the city’s patron saint, the author of the Gospel that bears his name.

The second part of the Festa Veneziana’s timetable is:
11am, entertainment begins on the banks, water parade starts;
12pm, arrival of the boats, with Venetian typical food and wine provided.

Festa delle Marie – the Parade


Carnival of Venice. Festa delle Marie
Carnival of Venice. Festa delle Marie

Every year on the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, 2 February, the Festa delle Marie used to take place with the purpose of offering a dowry to very pretty girls, when the Doge of Venice gave prizes to the twelve most beautiful Venetian girls of poor origin, donating them splendid jewels as a bridal dowry. Today this is still evoked.

The traditional “Festa delle Marie” will start at San Pietro di Castello at 2.30 pm, parade all along via Garibaldi and Riva degli Schiavoni and reach the St. Mark’s Square stage at 4pm, where the twelve “Marias” will be introduced to the crowd waiting for them.

This event occurs on different days until the moment when the Maria of the Carnival of this year is proclaimed, giving you the opportunity to admire the traditional Venetian period costumes.

The Flight of the Angel


Carnival of Venice Flight of the Angel over St Mark's Square
Flight of the Angel over St Mark’s Square

In Saint Mark’s Square the Carnival Angel will fly down from the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica, while the San Marco stage will be full of history and colours, when many traditional groups parade on stage in their beautiful costumes.

The event will be preceded by the “Corteo del Doge”, the Doge’s parade organised by the Consorzio Europeo Rievocazioni Storiche (Consortium of European Historical Re-enactment Societies), involving the Gruppo Storico “Le Maschere di Mario del ‘700 veneziano” (Historic Group “Mario’s Masks from Venetian ‘700s”).

The Flight of the Angel (“Volo dell’Angelo”) re-creates the Serenissima Republic of St Mark’s times, during which an unknown guest of Venice, flying along a rope from St Mark’s bell tower to the middle of the square, used to offer a homage to the Doge. The Angel will now do the same, greeted by the period costumes parades crowd of the Historical Re-enactments. The event concludes with the embrace of the Angel and the Doge, among scenographic effects.

As per tradition, the girl who won the 2021 edition of the “Festa delle Marie” beauty contest will be the Angel of the new Carnival 2022.

Best Mask Contest


In Saint Mark’s Square you can be an actor in the show and parade in Piazza San Marco with your fancy dress.

Or you can just watch the contestants, the people in costumes, wigs, caps and frills, parade on stage, competing with each other in fantasy and imagination.

The Flight of the Eagle


Carnival of Venice Flight of the Angel over St Mark's Square
Flight of the Eagle over St Mark’s Square

The great spectacle of the Eagle Flight (“Volo dell’Aquila”) from St. Mark’s bell tower to Saint Mark’s Square stage is something you don’t want to miss.

It’s still not known who will play the 2022 Aquila, as the “flying” celebrity, usually an athlete or sportsperson, is always a surprise. In 2019, it was the Short Track champion Arianna Fontana (pictured), winner of no less than 8 Olympic medals, as part of the promotion for the successful bid of Milan-Cortina for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The Eagle of the Carnival descends upon St. Mark’s bell tower and from there to the Gran Teatro, the stage erected in St Mark’s Square, the world’s most beautiful theatre, that will become a magnificent ballroom of 18th and 19th centuries’ splendours. Historical dance groups and associations, displaying stunning colours, costumes and movements, parade in front of the crowd and perform the minuet, square dances, gavotte and jigs.

Festa delle Marie 2020 – Award Ceremony


In Saint Mark’s Square the award ceremony for the 2022 Carnival’s winning “Maria” will be staged. The twelve Marias will arrive here in a boat procession, leaving from Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio.

At 4.30pm, the crowining ceremony of the most graceful damsel by the Doge.

Carnival of Venice Flight of the Lion
Carnival of Venice Flight of the Lion

The “Svolo del Leon”


The Flight of the Lion marks the closing of the Carnival of Venice.

St Mark’s Square will become once again an open-air theatre for the last time during this Carnival.

Celebrating and paying the highest tribute to the Winged Lion of St. Mark, the Leone alato di San Marco symbol of the city, a golden lion painted on red background on a vast canvas, lifted through a rope and pulley system, will fly up to Saint Mark’s bell tower over the audience in Piazza San Marco Square.

To welcome him, on the San Marco stage the twelve Venetian young ladies, the Marias, will greet the huge flag.

The event is a great party and a ritual full of emotions, to say goodbye to the just-concluded Carnival and hello to next year’s Venice Carnival.

Carnival of Venice Video


Here’s a taste of Venice Carnival Grand Opening, Carnival on the Water, from 2016.

What Carnival Is About


Carnival of Venice Mask
Carnival of Venice Mask

Major Carnival events take place inside the Arsenale, Venice’s superb and under-used historic shipyard, whose immense spaces host fireworks on the water, night occasions, soirées, dining experiences with entertainment among the tables, water pageants, live music, theatre, magic, performances all night long, re-enactments, aerial acrobatics, deejay festivals, the Children’s Carnival events, street artists and bands.

Venice’s Carnevale is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Carnivals in the world.

Unlike other Italian Carnivals, particularly Venice’s great rival, Carnival of Viareggio, whose pièce de résistance or showpiece are gigantic artistic floats moving along the very long seafront promenade, the Carnival of Venice has its main focus on masks, historic costumes, heritage events, fancy dresses of extraordinary elegance, exceptional artistry and superior exquisiteness whose tradition goes back centuries.

Not surprisingly, most if not all events of Venice Carnival are coordinated by the Consortium of European Historical Re-enactment Societies.

And we must not forget events on water, the essential element of the city and its vital lymph, on which it floats, the lagoon on whose seabed Venice’s foundations rest.