What’s On at the Venice Carnival

The Venice Carnival will transport you to another world with its medieval costumes, haunting masks and bizarre traditions. It’s a two week annual event that dates back to the 11th century, and takes place right before Lent.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading to this beautiful city at this time, pack your gown or dinner suit because it’s extravagant balls and parties all the way.

Try a mask-decorating workshop to help get you started, a popular activity in the first few days of the carnival. The masks are still made out of papier-mâché and once yours is set, you can do a costume photo shoot tour around the city. The guides lead you through the cobbled streets picking out spots that hold historical importance, and will ensure you go home with a range of great photos.

To keep in with the medieval theme, the soundtrack to the carnival is classical music. If you’re a fan, head to the Classical Carnival Concert and have your fill of dramatic tunes before you step out into a night of mystery.

There are lots of balls to choose from, but the Enchanted Palace Ball is one of the best ones to try. With a lavish setting just off the Grand Canal, a ‘400-year-old Master of the Palace’, who apparently found the potion of eternal youth, runs the show. Actors bring local legend to life in front of you as you enjoy a night of theatre and dance.

You can also take the party to the waterways. The Venice Carnival Party Cruise takes place on the Venetian Galleon, and will take you around the islands of Murano and Torcello before dropping you off back near the Piazza San Marco.