Venice during the Carnival
If you are a dreamer or just a romantic person, I am sure you already thought about living the Fairytale that must be to spend the Carnival in Venice. All those well-dressed people, the masks and that mystery in the air gives a lot of extra charm for the time. We have been in Venice for three weekdays during the Carnival and we have something to share.
Carnival in Venice 2018
As a first information, this year the party started on 27th January and will go until the Carnival day, 13th February. We have been there from 30 of January until 2nd of February (Tuesday to Friday). We didn’t see any Carnival party going on because, until the official Carnival week, all the Balls and city parties happened on Weekends, but the fact is that during the carnival time the prices raise 3 times and this is way out of our financial reality.
The travel cost for both of us together less than 500 euros for the three days, including flights from Berlin, meals, hotel near to Piazza San Marco and 2 beautiful handmade masks. If we were there for the weekend, we would have spent only for the hotel 600 euros. So, we kept things in our reality and maybe someday we will live the real fairytale. Even though, our visit to Venice was beautiful.
What to expect for Week Days
We arrived on a foggy Tuesday night. Our hotel was beautifully located few blocks from Piazza San Marco. We booked it through Booking.com (click to open our referred account) and the hotel name was Hotel Casanova. The rooms were pretty much what we expected for Venice by Carnival time. The building is from the 18th century and the rooms have this Victorian Decoration that gave us this feeling that we were in another moment in time. It was lovely.
The weather for our days was pretty bad. Cloudy all the time with some boring rain in between. If you are attending Venice by this time of the year, don’t forget a rain jacket. The nice part is that even with such a weather, the city was still beautiful and walking around was as pleasant as a warm summer night. We have already visited Venice before, so we knew already the lovely sightseeing waiting for us.
About the Carnival, nothing really happened during the weekdays we were there, except the fact that the city was completely empty and that made our walking around much easier. The only crowded place was the main city landscape, the Rialto Bridge, but even there we could find a spot for a nice photo. On the floor, there was still some confetti as a memory from the weekend party. Other things that reminded us that the carnival was going on was and all the small constructions around the city for the next parties to come.
How is to be in Venice for the Carnival?
Well, besides we have never been there for the weekends, we can say that the beautiful parties are called “Masked Ball Parties” (in Italian Masquerade Baglioni) and you need or an invitation or to pay for the party. The rich and traditional Venezian families still give their parties and you can google them to guarantee some invitations. Besides the closed parties, there are some celebrations also happening on the streets. Each year they have different dates, so go to the official websites for that. The only problem about those public parties is that the government is starting to limit the number of people allowed on those areas, to preserve the city. It is well known that a high number of tourists in a place helps to destroy it much quicker and in several places, the local governments are trying to control and reduce those numbers to save their patrimonies. In Venezia is happening the same thing during the Carnival and it is going to get worse from now on.
This year, from the opening party at San Marco, 20.000 tourists where blocked to enter the area, that was limited to only 11.000 people. This situation will be repeated for every other public party this year and will be adopted for the next years as well. So, if you are planning to make a travel to Venice for the Carnival, stay tuned about those rules because it is an expensive time to be there, it is super crowded and there will be limitations.
To our surprise, the amount of Masks stores had increased a lot on the last 8 years and with much more popular prices. This was something that we both noticed and decided to talk to a local artisan about. He told us that the number of stores increased considerably and with the Chinese productions also the masks have now prices from € 2,50. If you are in town and you want to guarantee a real Venezian mask, handmade by a local artisan, then you should expect to pay not less than € 15,00.
With those Artisans we also learned a lot about the Venetian masks and I would write it all down here for you, but to be honest I think it is such a cool experience to go to Venice and learn it all there, that I will save you from this reading and encourage you to go to Venice and learn about the masks there. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go at Carnival time to buy a mask, this traditional item in Venice is there for all the year.
What to do in Venice
So, last but not least, what can you do in Venice? Well, mainly walk. The city is full of canals, lovely bridges and very small streets for you to explore. Don’t be afraid of exploring all the corners. On your walks around pay attention for the main attractions like Piazza San Marco, Ponte di Rialto, Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, Ponte dei Sospiri, the Arsenale and Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute. If you prefer to see more from the inside, the city has several museums with art collections and also the history of the glass (Murano), considered one of the specialities of the area. If you have time, visit also the islands near to the main one in Venice: Lido, Murano and Giudecca.
If you want to make one of those traditional Gondolas tours, get ready to pay € 80 for half an hour tour up to 6 people per gondola. The good news is that the price is not per person. 😉
You are going to fall in love with Venice with or without Carnival. If you want to go there in a less crowded moment, you can go right after the Carnival, when all the prices go down, because it is the lowest period of visitors in the city. Keep an eye on the flight tickets and Join Me There!