The dates for Carnival change every year, as they’re connected to the liturgical year rather than the calendar year. Carnival is the celebration that occurs just before Lent, and it culminates in Fat Tuesday - Martedi Grasso in Italian. You’ll need to check the specific dates for this year’s Carnevale, but it usually takes place in February or March.
Costumes, Street Theatre, & Feasting
While Carnival in Venice may have been more wild centuries ago, the modern version is much more stately. Still, it’s an invitation for participants to express themselves through elaborate costumes and masks, and it’s a festival known for its sensual overtones. Carnival is, in many ways, about excess.
Acting troupes and performers engage in various forms of “commedia dell'arte” - improvised performances of theatre, juggling, and comedy - and epic proportions of traditional Venetian food and wine are consumed.
Venetian Carnival Masks
Whenever you choose to join in the festivities, you’ll first have to choose a mask. Throughout the festival, revelers conceal their identities with various styles of masks. Some historians believe masks were originally used during Carnival to erase the lines between classes in a very class-driven society, allowing people from all walks of life to mingle in a way that was impossible at any other time of year. Today, the masks are simply a festive part of any good Carnival costume.
Bautas can be worn by anyone today, although they were originally only worn by men. They are usually gilded and have a pronounced chin line that does not conceal the mouth.
A Columbina mask is a half-mask, exposing the mouth and the lower part of the face. Morettas, oval masks made of velvet, are typically worn by women.
Voltos or Larvas - often simple, white, unadorned masks - are considered the standard Venetian Carnival masks. They cover the entire face, and the mouths are always closed and slightly pursed.
Tours & Tickets
If it’s your first time in Venice, see all the highlights of this magical city on a combination walking tour of Venice’s narrow streets and a boat tour on the ... Read more
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
Skip the line at St Mark’s Basilica and explore St Mark’s Square and lesser-known Venice on this 2-hour walking tour. Stroll around St Mark’s Square as your ... Read more
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)