From February 4 to 2, 2023 the Carnival of Venice is back. Here’s everything you need to know to better enjoy this incredible event.
The first major event of the year in Venice will be the Venice Carnival 2023 which will be staged from 4 to 21 February 2023 between calli, campi and palazzi. Naturally, the highlight of the Carnival will be the last week from Shrove Thursday, February 16, to February 21.
If you are planning to come then Carnival that is the weekend to consider for experiencing the events: however, consider that it will also be the time when there will be a greater crowd. If you haven’t already done so, book your hotel now.
The theme of Carnival 2023
Artistic director Massimo Cecchetto has chosen the leitmotif of the event in the phrase Take your Time for the Original Signs. The topic is therefore that of the signs of the constellations, of the Zodiac, and of the signs that make the Venetian Carnival unique: creative freedom as a manifestation of identity and self-affirmation.
So if you’re thinking about a mask, or even just a make up for going around during the Carnival in Venice, keep this theme in mind and I’m sure you won’t go unnoticed.
News of the Venice Carnival 2023
Due to the repaving works in Piazza San Marco, unfortunately this year there will be no two of the most anticipated events. Volo dell’Angelo and Volo della Colombina have been cancelled.
But this shouldn’t discourage you because there are so many other events worth experiencing.
What happens during the Venice Carnival?
The Carnival of Venice is made up of many events in which you can participate. Many of these events are free to enter, others are free but require a reservation. There are also many truly exclusive events inside the palaces, masked balls, for which not only is there an entrance ticket but to access you also need to wear a suitable costume that can be rented in the various ateliers.
Every year many people arrive in Venice with incredible costumes made by them or commissioned by expert hands. These masks are concentrated more in the San Marco area which is obviously also the most iconic in which to be photographed.
The mainland will also be involved in the Carnival celebrations: this is where you will be able to see the traditional carnival floats.
How much does it cost to rent a costume for the Venice Carnival?
Whether you want to attend one of the most exclusive balls or you simply want to go around Venice in a nice costume, you have to budget between 150 and 1000 euros depending on how valuable the costume is.
As with many other things, here too it is important to contact the ateliers that rent these costumes in advance otherwise you will have very little choice. Keep in mind that the costume then needs adaptations so it is very important to follow the instructions, communicate the right measurements ect ect.
Carnival typical food
The best known dessert of the Carnival are certainly the frittelle which in Venice I would begin by distinguishing into categories.
Le frittelle veneziane they are a leavened and fried dough enriched with pine nuts and raisins. You can find them with or without a hole in the middle.
Le frittelle alla crema: in this typology the dough is similar to that of the cream puff. You can find them in many variations: chantilly cream, eggnog, ricotta, chocolate and pistachio.
Then there are two other desserts, often a little snubbed but still delicious.
Galani: another typical dessert also in other parts of Italy is fried sweet lasagna sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can find these both fried and baked (lighter, but no less good)
Castagnole: they are made with flour, eggs and sugar and obviously fried. They are the size of a chestnut and that’s why they get this name. You can also find these in many bakeries.
Every Venetian has his own reference pastry shop so if you ask where the best ones are, you can get very different answers.
In any case, I have created a small map for you to orient yourself with the best offers in Venice and Mestre: make good use of it. Greedy map of frittelle.
The main events
What are the main events of the Venice Carnival?
As we said, it begins on February 4 with the Operating Parade and continues the following day with the Water Procession of typical local boats led by a large papier-mâché Pantegana (a mouse).
In the following week, starting from February 10, the events not to be missed are the shows on the water inside the Venice Arsenale. The shows will be on 10, 11, 12 February and then every day from 16 to 21 February with two performances a day at 6.30pm and 9pm. Attention, for residents of the Municipality it will no longer be free like last year. Tickets are already on sale at this link.
Saturday February 11, there will also be the Presentation of the Maries of the Carnival in a water procession along the Grand Canal up to Piazza San Marco. The Maries are 12 girls aged between 18 and 28 from the metropolitan city. It is a wonderful opportunity for those who are chosen to live unique experiences within the city until the proclamation of the Maria of the year on February 20th.
The Venice Biennale is instead the point of reference for children/teenagers with the International Children’s Carnival event from 11 to 19 February.
Like every year, Ca’ Macana, a mask workshop, opens its doors to tell the story of the work of creating masks and the traditions of the Carnival. Free admission by reservation.
The balls of the Venice Carnival 2023
The Carnival dances deserve a separate chapter, events where there is certainly something to be enjoyed and fully experience the spirit of the Carnival.
Please note: you have to go to these balls dressed in masks but each ball has its precise indications and often also direct relationships with the ateliers where you can rent the costumes.
Depending on the event, it is also possible to decide to participate after dinner, thus paying a reduced admission fee.
I’ll point out three of them, different from each other.
If you want to participate in a ball inside a luxury hotel, one of the best choices is definitely Luna in Maschera inside the Hotel Luna Baglioni. Two dates available February 11 and February 18. Here the atmosphere will certainly be refined and don’t forget that the menu will be signed by the Michelin starred restaurant in Milian Sadle