There’s more to Venice than just Carnevale! There’s gondola’s and pizza and fireworks and shopping and a party atmosphere that never seems to stop. In fact, Venice just may be the only city in the world that deserves visiting at least once! Like we said, there’s more to Venice than just Carnevale. But as long you’re coming to visit you might as well pencil-in a trip to Venice between 26 February and March 8th.
Many are the visitors who flock to Venice and Piazza San Marco to bask in the madness that is Carnevale, but few really have a grasp of what they’re seeing or when they should be seeing it. So before you don your mask with pointy nose and peacock frills, keep in mind that your Carnevale excursion should key in on 3 important events:
– The Flight of the Angel in Piazza S.Marco: the Volo dell’Angelois traditional “kick-off” for Carnevale, The angel, traditionally a woman, glides down on cables from the cathedral’s bell tower in Piazza San Marco (although at least once, in 2008, the angel was a male).
– The traditional masked ball at the Fenice theatre: the Teatro La Fenice
, Venice’s fabled opera house, is the staging ground for the “Cavalchina” Ball. Where all the theatre’s seats will be removed to create an elegant ballroom for just one night. The program typically begins at 8 p.m. with imaginary characters from the opera house welcoming guests to an imaginary Carnival celebration of the early 1800s. The evening is wrapped around dancing and entertainment in addition to a dinner buffet. Ticket prices begin at a mere €480 per person on the main floor, with higher prices for reserved boxes. Sure, for those kinds of prices you could pay your mortgage for a month or two. But we’re talking Carnavale! Can you really put a price on these kinds of memories?
– Tasting the typical Venetian cakes of Carnival:frittelleand galoni. You’ll have ample opportunity to find and taste these local treats as you wander throughout the night and day. Just do yourself a favor and wash them down with a glass of Spumante’ (sparkling wine).
Of course you can also rent a costume from the historic Atelier Tiepolocostume shop which sits near the Danieli Hotel so you can blend right in with all the other costumed party-goers of Carnevale.
As you can see, during Carnevale there is plenty to do, see and enjoy. While you’re experiencing all three (doing, seeing and enjoying) why not relax with a hot chocolate from one of the oldest bars in Venice, the Café’ Lavena.
You might also consider a gondola rise-dinner combination which runs in the neighborhood of €220.00. Or you can enjoy the hot chocolate and forego the dinner-gondola ride. You should – however – check out the following whether you’re dressed up for Carnevale or not: Bridge Rialto, Piazza S. Marco, Basilica of S. Marco, Palace of the Dogi, Church of the Flowers, Burano, the ancient Hebrew ghetto and the Church of the Miracles.
Where to stay:
You gotta stay somewhere and unless you just won the lottery the Hotel Ateneo(3 stars) and the Hotel dell’ Opera(3 stars) should do just fine. I’ve stayed at both over the years and have never been disappointed.
Where to eat:
Trattoria Rialto and the Trattoria al vechio bagosso” deserve both your business and your appetite.
And finally, something (actually someone) to keep an eye out for: after 9 centuries, the first female “Gondolieri” officially took command of her boat. Ms Giorgia Boscolo (24 years old and mother of 2) became the first woman in a fleet of 425 gondolieri males on March 13, 2010.
Check her out and the rest of this magnificent city during Carnvale!