Review of Venice Carnival 2020, Italy

The Venice Carnival 2020 last from February 8 to 25. The 2020 edition of the Venice Carnival will revolve around the theme of love declined together with the game and a pinch of madness. More than 150 events, 50 initiatives for children and young people, as many cultural reviews with the participation of over 300 artists. All traditional shows will be confirmed, with some more news such as the surprise event scheduled in Piazza San Marco for Valentine’s Day, the feast of lovers.

Venice during the Carnival is spellbinding, with a historically rich mixture of performance and dining, and, of course, the magnificent costumes, including the extravagant masks for which Venice is so famous. If you have never had a romantic encounter in Venice, perhaps you will have an opportunity to learn why countless generations of impassioned lovers have exclaimed that romance in Venice is the best romance there is. As every year there is great expectation for the Venetian festival, which always attracts a large number of tourists from all over Italy and the world for the occasion.

In the Carnival, the streets are filled with celebrants dressed in luxurious, festive garb; experiencing Venice during the Carnival is like stepping back in time, with no modern buildings to spoil the illusion. One can wander the streets, taking in the costumes and street performances, or attend an evening party, an opera or concert, in one of the palaces or hotels accustomed to hosting royalty.

Popular and exciting are also the Corteo delle Marie and the Flight of the Angel which celebrate the second weekend of Carnival, such as the Competition for the most beautiful mask in which costumed groups from all over the world participate, the Flight of the Eagle (Sunday), the coronation of the Carnival Mary and the shows that close the party on Shrove Tuesday, in a riot of colors, applause, confetti and the grace and beauty of the girls protagonists.

The glamorous side of Carnival is that of the palace parties: stuccos, golds, velvets and candles, the experience is overwhelming and immersive: between food and perfumes couples of fairies and satyrs, queens and courtiers, great leaders, doges, cardinals, comedians and dancers welcome guests who in a few minutes forget the era to which they belong.

All of an evening you might experience walking up the stairs of a candlelit palace, expecting Casanova to make his advances; enjoying cocktails over the glimmering Grand Canal, abandoning your senses to pleasure; all while revealing your true identity only to carefully chosen intimates. After all this extravagance perhaps your night is completed by a mysterious, romantic, moonlight tryst, leaving you entranced and breathless, ready to meet the whole experience again the following day.

Highlight events
The Venice Carnival includes a series of open-air public events that punctuate the two-weeks Carnival. The most important and festive events are masked balls and private parties organised in palaces to the rhythm of the nights of the Venice Carnival.

Venice Carnival is one traditions with strong foundation in culture with the significance and beauty. The whole world also gathers every year around this time gaze on its grandeur. Every year, the Venice Carnival turns the city into a spectacular riot of pageantry, colour, musical performances, fireworks displays and glamorous Venetian balls. If you want to experience the exotic atmosphere of Venice at its best, carnival is the time to go.

Everything kicks off with a blaze of flags, boats, music and sheer energy with the Grand Opening. Known as the Festa Veneziana, the opening takes place on the banks of the Cannaregio canal and will be a feast of gorgeously decorated boats, dance and music shows topped off with dazzling fireworks.

After that, the Venice Carnival’s schedule is packed with events such as the Festa delle Marie on 15th February this year. This event sees the “Twelve Marias” parade from San Pietro di Castello to San Marco Square and is a great chance to see traditional Venetian costumes.

On the same day, visitors could attend the Gallery of Wonders at the Ca’ Vendramin Calergi Palace, where fine art, comedic performances and delicious food combine with wild costumes and dancing long into the night. The palace then hosts a number of similar events, so nobody need to miss out.

Throughout the Carnival of Venice, visitors can also attend masked costume contests in the Piazza San Marco. Contestants are graded on the authenticity of their outfits before the Grand Finale.

Venice Carnival come to the finale on February 25, when the huge “Leone di San Marco” – the lion flag that symbolises Venice – is raised to its place at the top of the bell tower of San Marco to be saluted by the Twelve Marias. Earlier in the day, you could also watch the charming Carnival of Youth of Zelarino, which sees children parade in their colourful carts to Venice’s main square.

The following was the program of the 2020 edition:

The Venetian Festival on the water
Venetian party on the water: the 2019 Carnival celebrations are underwayOn Saturday 8 February the show of aquatic images and music will officially open the Venice Carnival. The Rio di Cannaregio is transformed into a real water stage with a show that enchants thousands of spectators every year, where floating structures transfer the theme of the Venice Carnival 2020 onto the water “The Game, Love and Madness “.

On Sunday 9 February the water parade of the Coordination of Rowing Associations Voga alla Veneta will leave its moorings from Punta della Dogana along the entire Grand Canal until it reaches the popular Rio di Cannaregio, where it will parade in a riot of crowds crowded on the banks.

Grand Opening: Mestre Carnival Street Show 2020
On Sunday 9 February in Mestre the Carnival and the fourth edition of the Mestre Carnival Street Show 2020 are officially celebrated, with an extraordinary Grand Opening in Piazza Ferretto. (READ THE DETAILS)

Valentine’s day special
Friday 14 February from 7 pm: San Valentino Night Ball – Piazza San Marco, will host the Venetian dance schools in an explosion of dance, music and magic. With the management of the splendid couple Federica Cacciola and Tommy Vee, and the intrusions of the eclectic Prince Maurice.

Mestre Carnival Street Show
From February 15: For the third year, Mestre celebrates art and entertainment in the streets of the city, animating squares, streets and arcades with music and street art shows. Widespread shows, where unleashed musicians, reckless acrobats and extravagant artists give life to a colorful, fun and above all original animation, in Piazza Ferretto and in the other streets of the city.

Bici al Bacio – The Astrocicli
Pedalia’s Astrocicli, with the artists of the Circo Patuf, travel the streets of Love riding large traveling kisses. Animation and acrobatic performance for young and old, inspired by the most beautiful kisses of the cinema and the sweetest kisses of the pastry shop! From 15 to 25 February, 11 days of programming for about 20 stages: Campalto, Tessera, Tarù, Chirignago, Lido, Marghera, Trivignano, Malcontenta, Piraghetto and via Piave.

Procession of the Festa delle Marie
Saturday 15 February: the traditional “Festa delle Marie” starts from San Piero di Castello at around 2.30 pm, will travel along via Garibaldi and Riva degli Schiavoni in a spectacular procession, and will arrive on the stage in Piazza San Marco around 4.00 pm, where the official presentation will take place to the public of the Carnival of Venice 2020.

The Official Dinner Ball in Love
From 15 to 16 and from 20 to 25 February at Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi. The Dinner Show intoxicates with passion, between sounds, colors and flavors, creating an experience of games, entertainment and pure fun. Rich menu proposed by the chefs of the Wagner Restaurant, the welcome of Prince Maurice, the exciting artistic performances of NuArt, the music of Dj Oyadi and Gloria Fregonese, the costumes of the Venetian Ateliers Pietro Longhi and Nicolao.

Arsenal 2020
15 and 21-24 February, Tese 93-94: The location most awaited by young people returns to animate the nights of the Venice Carnival in the Tese of the Arsenale. Evenings designed not only to entertain but also to stimulate the imagination in disguise. Live Music and Dj-set until 03.30 with international artists.

Rialto Carnival
From 15 to 25 February: Numerous events of the Venetian carnival, organized by the Campo Rialto Novo and Adjacency Citizens Committee, the Mattacino and Rialto Mio Association return to animate the Rialto area with proposals for all tastes and ages.

The flight of the angel
Sunday 16 February: The exciting Flight of the Angel of the Venice Carnival 2019 officially opens the Carnival celebrations in Piazza San Marco at 12.00. This year it will be Lina Pani. Welcomed in the crowded parterre by the groups of historical re-enactments in costume, it will dissolve the tension of the flight in the embrace of the Doge and the public.

Murano Carnival
Sunday 16 February: a group of mothers, as last year, organize the Murano 2020 Carnival: a parade and a party for families and the inhabitants of the island. It is a tradition of the community that they want to keep alive and that involves the whole population, including businesses.

The most beautiful mask contest
From Thursday 20 February to Sunday 23 February: participants parade on the catwalk, challenging each other with costumes, masks and wigs in the double daily appointment. The competition becomes even richer in emotions, colors and surprises.

Ballad of the Masks with the Cutting of the Bull’s Head
Thursday 20 February: “The Cutting of the Bull’s Head” is the Fat Thursday party of the Venice Carnival which will end with a great show in St. Mark’s Square at 5.00 pm. Event organized by the Compagnia L’Arte dei Mascareri Association.

Story of an Invincible Love
Friday 21 February: 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm in Piazza San Marco. The show evokes the ancient struggles between Nicolotti and Castellani: in a compelling narrative, the fight between the two factions creates an emotional involvement of the audience present.

Carnival of Burano
The celebrations of this traditional appointment curated
by the Non Solo Carnevale Association are scheduled during the last weekend of carnival, with the parade of allegorical floats on Shrove Tuesday.

Parade of floats at the Lido of Venice
Friday 21 February: from 4.30 pm parade of allegorical floats in Gran Viale S. Maria Elisabetta, departing from Riviera San Nicolò, Carnival Market in Gran Viale and Carnival of the sportsman, and with a morning prologue in Pellestrina.

Parade of floats in Marghera
Saturday 22 February: large masked floats and as many local groups will parade along the streets of the “Garden City”: as usual, the procession will make two passages in Piazza Mercato where, at the end of the parade, the participating groups will be awarded.

The Flight of the Eagle
Sunday 23 February: as per unmissable tradition, the 2020 edition of the Venice Carnival will also feature the spectacle of the Eagle’s flight from the Campanile to Piazza San Marco. The name, as usual, will be revealed only in the preparation phases of the Carnival events and which each year holds some great surprises!

The flight of the Donkey
Sunday 23 February: Volo dell’Asino, one of the most anticipated events of the carnival program on the mainland. Every year amazing news at the precise stroke of 12:00 the traditional Donkey Flight to be discovered. It is the last Sunday of Carnival at the Mestre Carnival Street Show with a long marathon of shows, games, performances in Piazza Ferretto, the heart of the festival.

Carnival Sprint Regatta
Sunday 23 February from 2.30pm. The Carnival regatta, numerous crews will compete from Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi to Rialto with sprint regattas between mixed teams of champions, women and very young people. Final award ceremony at the Pescheria in Rialto.

Parade of floats in Campalto
Sunday 23 February: after the resumption in 2019, the traditional parade of allegorical floats is confirmed starting at 2.30 pm. The floats will parade for over a kilometer in the city streets up to the church of San Benedetto. The parade will end with the awarding of the most beautiful floats.

Zelarino Children’s Carnival
Tuesday 25 February: the Zelarino Children’s Carnival, now in its 53rd edition, awaits you again this year with two moments of fun. From 14.45 the row of allegorical floats in the main street of the town accompanied by masked groups from the various Venetian provinces.

The “Svolo del Leon”
Tuesday 25 February: we celebrate the highest tributes to the winged Lion of San Marco, the symbol of our city which, exceptionally, will climb the bell tower painted on a large scenic cloth to fly over the public in the square. The twelve Venetian maidens, the Marie, will welcome him from 5.00 pm on the stage in Piazza San Marco.

The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival held in Venice, Italy. It is one of the best known and most popular carnivals in the world. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks. Its origins are very ancient: the first evidence dates back to a document of the Doge Vitale Falier of 1094, where there is talk of public entertainment and in which the word Carnival is mentioned for the first time.

The institution of the Carnival by the Venetian oligarchies is generally attributed to the need of the Serenissima, like what already happened in ancient Rome (see panem et circenses), to grant the population, especially the humblest social classes, a period dedicated entirely for fun and celebrations, during which Venetians and foreigners flocked throughout the city to party with wild music and dancing.

Through the anonymity that masks and costumes guaranteed, a sort of leveling of all social divisions was achieved and even the public derision of the authorities and the aristocracy was authorized. These concessions were widely tolerated and considered a providential outlet to the tensions and discontent that inevitably arose within the Republic of Venice, which placed strict limits on its citizens on issues such as common morality and public order.

The Modern Carnival
Only in 1979, the centuries-old tradition of the Venice Carnival officially rose from its ashes, thanks to the initiative and commitment of some citizens’ associations and the logistical and economic contribution of the Municipality of Venice, of the Teatro la Fenice., of the Venice Biennale and tourist boards.

Within a few editions, thanks also to the media visibility reserved for the event and the city, the Venice Carnival has returned to tracing the footsteps of the ancient event with great success, albeit in different ways and atmospheres.

The individual annual editions of this new Carnival have often been distinguished and dedicated to a basic theme, which inspires them for parties and surrounding cultural events. Some editions were also characterized by combinations and twinning with other Italian and European cities, thus providing further involvement of the event at an international level.

The current Carnival of Venice has become a great and spectacular tourist event, which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who flock to the city to participate in this festival considered unique for its history, atmosphere and masks.

The traditionally most important days of the Venetian Carnival are Shrove Thursday and Shrove Tuesday, even if the greatest influxes are certainly recorded during the weekends of the event.

The holidays
With the first edition of the recent Carnival, a program of events and a detailed calendar for the new major event are simultaneously established. The date for the start of the official celebrations is established to coincide with the Saturday before Shrove Thursday and the end with Shrove Tuesday, for a total duration of only eleven days. Unlike the Carnival of the past, which for a long time had an official duration of six weeks, the modern one takes place with a concentrated program, but full of individual events.

As in the past, the Carnival of Venice still represents a great popular festival for a large audience of all ages. Street parties and events of all kinds animate the days of the groups of masks and tourists, who happily scatter around the city. In addition to the official parties in the square between campi and campielli, still today as in the past various private parties and masked balls are organized in the great Venetian palaces. In these places, rich in furnishings and atmospheres almost unchanged over time, it is possible to relive the ancient splendors and the tradition of the Carnival of the past.

The Feast of the Marys
Only in 1999 the ancient Festa delle Marie was finally restored, with an atmosphere that combines the historical re-enactment of the ancient procession with the girls with a more modern beauty pageant in costume. It was officially revived about six hundred years later, by Bruno Tosi

In the weeks preceding the Carnival, a sort of selection is held among the young local beauties to choose the twelve Marys destined to parade as protagonists of the procession, during the celebration. The party generally takes place on the afternoon of the first Saturday of the Carnival, when the twelve Marys, accompanied by a long procession made up of a procession of bridesmaids, flag-wavers, musicians and hundreds of other figures in period costume, begins its slow walk starting from the church of San Pietro di Castello and heading towards Piazza San Marco, between the wings of a crowd of masks and tourists.

In Piazza San Marco, the next day, the bridesmaids parade again awaiting the official proclamation of the winner of the edition, the most beautiful of the twelve (the so-called Mary of the year), to whom a substantial prize is awarded.

The Flight of the Angel
In the modern Carnival it was decided to re-present to the public, in a guise similar to the original one of the ancient Carnival, the anniversary of the Flight of the Angel, in its variant of Volo della Colombina. While in the past this show was celebrated on Shrove Thursday, in modern editions it is generally held at noon on the first Sunday of celebration, as one of the opening events that officially decree the beginning of the Carnival itself. Until the 2000 edition, above a cheering crowd, with its gaze turned to the Campanile of San Marco, a mechanical bird with the shape of a dove carried out, as in the past, its descent on the rope towards the Doge’s Palace. Approximately halfway through, a trap door was opened in its lower part,

Since the 2001 edition, the first of the millennium, the old formula of the Flight of the Angel has been passed again, replacing the Colombina with a real artist and ending the descent in Piazza San Marco. The 2001 flight was entrusted to the Compagnia dei Folli, which lent its own artist for the event. For each edition, the Angel of the Carnival, secured to a metal cable, makes his only descent from the belfry of the bell tower, slowly sliding towards the ground, suspended in the void, above the multitude that fills the space below.