The Game, Love & Folly: Venice Carnival 2020

The Game, Love & Folly: this is the title chosen for the Carnival of Venice 2020. A title that lets you perfectly imagine what will be the themes of the long Venetian kermesse, which will start on Saturday, February 8, to end as tradition on Shrove Tuesday, February 25.

So love will be the common thread of all the events in the program, unique and totalizing, in its highest declination, but which stands as the perfect needle in the balance between the game and folly: love is definitely also folly, but it is above all game, because you can't love without doing folly and you can't love without having fun!

The program is packed with 150 events, and 50 appointments divided between concerts, parties, dances, exhibitions, theater pieces, workshops for children and adults.

Venice is ready to welcome you to celebrate together in Carnival. Get ready to experience great emotions!

The Venetian festival on water - part 1: Amoris Causa

The Carnival of Venice cannot but open on the water!

The welcome to the long period of celebrations will be given with the show "Amoris Causa" in Rio di Cannaregio: a liquid stage where floating and aerial structures will alternate in a game of lights and dances, songs and serenades, to transfer on the water the theme of Carnival, that love that moves everything, that of everything is cause, that keeps in the destiny of those who love perpetually suspended between present and infinite. A real journey into feelings and emotions, into the passions that warm the heart and soul.

The show will be directed by Alessandro Martello and will be realized by Wavents, a splendid Venetian reality, with the participation of Opere Fiammae specialized in the theatrical art of flames manipulation.

The show includes two replicas:

Saturday, February 8, Rio di Cannaregio:

  • First show at 19:00
  • Second show at 21:00

Free event

Venetian water festival - part 2: water parade in the Grand Canal

Even Sunday is in the sign of water!

The traditional Venetian festival continues the next day with the allegorical Water Parade: it will start from Punta della Dogana and along the Grand Canal the many boats "masked" for the occasion will parade, to reach Rio di Cannaregio, where the famous Panthegana, the goliardic symbol of the city Carnival, will make its triumphant entrance. There will also be typical regattas, such as the sprint of women on gondolas and the Sprint Regatta of Carnival, which will involve champions and amateurs, with a final prize-giving ceremony at the Rialto Fish Market. An atmosphere of fun and lightness with music and entertainment that will end along the Fondamenta di Cannaregio with the opening of food and wine stands that will offer typical Venetian cicheti and sweets of the period, fritoe and galani, to all participants.

The program of the show is as follows:

Sunday, February 9th:

  • 10:15 am in Rio di Cannaregio "Waiting for the Pantegana" with the Carnival regatta.
  • 11:00 a.m. Punta della Dogana departure of the water parade
  • 12:00 am Arrival of the water parade in Rio di Cannaregio and opening of the food and wine stands.

Free event

Venice, a life in mask

Masks and disguise have always been the essential element of the Venetian Carnival and since the times of the Serenissima their realization was entrusted to expert craftsmen, the mascareri. At Cà Macana, with Venice, a life in mask, you can discover the history and secrets of the centuries-old manufacture of masks thanks to a workshop divided into 3 parts:

Part I: historical stories about the traditional masks of the bauta, moretta and plague doctor;

Part II: demonstration of the technique of making a mask and its decoration:

Part III: historical tales on the Carnival of the Serenissima

The event is in Cà Macana, Dorsoduro 3172 and will be repeated in the following days:

  • 8, 15, 21, 22, 25 February.

It's completely free, upon reservation here

Venice, Carnival and love. Images of Venice in mask

Photographic exhibition complemented by projections of excerpts from films that sell Carnival as a central theme, but also exhibition of objects, hovering between the joking and the licentious, related to the loving activity.....

Fabbrica del Vedere - Carlo Montanaro Archive, Calle del Forno 3857 Cannaregio

  • From 8 February to 7 March, every day from 17:00 to 19:00 - Closed on Tuesdays

Free entrance

Procession and Marie's Feast

The Feast of Maries and its procession renews every year the centuries-old tradition of the Purification of Mary, when 12 humble maidens were entrusted to noble families who would provide for them until marriage. An event that, after a long period of absence, in recent years has been linked to the Carnival celebrations: a competition that involves the participation of 12 young Venetians to then elect the most beautiful Mary, who the following year will wear the exclusive clothes of the angel who will throw herself from the Bell Tower to welcome the Carnival. The procession of about 300 participants, dressed in traditional costumes, will depart from San Pietro di Castello, along Via Garibaldi and the Riva degli Schiavoni, and then arrive in St. Mark's Square for the presentation of the girls.

Saturday 15th February:

  • 2:30 p.m. Departure from San Pietro di Castello
  • 4:00 p.m. arrival in St. Mark's Square

Free event

Arsenale Carnival Experience - Spriss&Love

Young Carnival is staged at the Arsenale!

To the sound of imaginative disguises, lights and pulsating music, the Tese 93-94 of the Arsenale host the most lively and engaging evenings: the definitely younger part of the event, with techno evenings wrapped in a goliardic spirit, a good dose of madness and so much spritz!

Three appointments:

  • Spriss & Love, Saturday 15 February, from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am
  • Love Clinic, Monday 21 February, from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am
  • Save the date, Monday 24 February, from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am

Arsenale Nord - Access to the docks, Calle Giazzo 7020, Castello

The Flight of the Angel: the official and sumptuous welcome to Carnival

Born by chance from the daring performance of a Turkish tightrope walker at the time of the Serenissima, the Flight of the Angel is undoubtedly the most anticipated event of the festivities, preceded by the Procession of the Doge. The winning Mary of the Carnival competition of the previous year, dressed in a sumptuous dress, will throw herself from the top of St. Mark's Bell Tower, and walking about 90 meters, she will arrive in the arms of the Doge, under the eyes of a square crowded with citizens and tourists, fascinated and excited for the wonderful show. This year the Angel will be played by Linda Pani, nineteen years old from Mogliano Veneto.

  • Sunday 16 February, 12:00 noon in St. Mark's Square

Free event

Carnival Official Dinner&Ball 2020: nurture love, feed the folly

What kind of carnival would it be without a masquerade ball?!

And the official one of the kermesse 2020, "Carnival Official Dinner&Ball 2020: nurture love, feed the folly" will be staged in the sumptuous Cà Vendramin Caliergi: atmospheres of yesteryear, light games in "a fascinating treasure chest in which to savour the luxury of the past and let yourself be captured by vaporwave effects and special scenographic settings".

DJ set and a refined dinner for "A tempting fairy tale that will involve all your senses and guide you to the discovery of unexpected pleasures", these are the words of Massimo Checcetto, eclectic artistic director of the Carnival of Venice 2020.

These are the dates:

  • Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th February, from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
  • From the 20th to the 25th of February, from 21:00 to 2:00

For info and reservations:

The Game, Love & Folly: Conference-Show by Alberto Toso Fei

Alberto Toso Fei, Venetian writer, in his lecture-show, tells us about Carnival in the times of the Serenissima, and why the Venetians celebrated the festival for almost six months a year, granting themselves licenses and libertinism in other unimaginable places. Love, madness and fun were mixed between masks and disguises, between fake moles and fans, which showed off the power and opulence of the Serenissima!

  • Sunday 16th February, 6:00 p.m., Teatrino Grassi, Campo San Samuele 3231, San Marco

Free event

The Game, Love & Folly in the popular imagination: from Dante to the Comedy of Art

Splendid exhibition accompanied by workshops, Dante's readings and fairy tales, in the magical setting of the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista.

The event will open on Saturday 15th and will be open to the public until the 25th.

The complete programme here

  • From 15 to 25 February, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista San Polo 2454

Free event

Salty Sea Songs

At the Auditoruim of the M9 Museum in Mestre there is an interesting show by Gerardo Balestrieri dedicated to Venice and Corto Maltese, the imaginary gentleman sailor born from the pencil of Hugo Pratt, cartoonist of Venetian origins. The show is freely inspired by the story with which Pratt made Maltese debut, "The ballad of the salt sea", which has become a classic of the genre.

  • Sunday 16 February, 18:30 Auditorium M9, Via Giovanni Pascoli 11, Mestre.

Free event

The contest of the most beautiful mask: parade in St. Mark's Square

In St. Mark's Square the Carnival fashion goes on stage!

Every day, thanks to the traditional Competition of the Most Beautiful Mask, hundreds of masks parade among the curious eyes of passers-by and citizens, showing themselves with pride to the photographers present to make themselves immortal, walking along a red carpet that ends on stage. Those present in the square will designate the winners and award the special prize to the most beautiful mask. Sunday 23rd, then, among the daily winners, will be decreed the most beautiful mask of Carnival 2020. The following day, Monday 14, the parade will be dedicated to children.

After the afternoon parade, every day Piazza San Marco will be invaded by live music with vibrant dj-sets that will make everyone dance!

Participation is free and to register for the contest you must fill out this form.

St. Mark's Square, in the following days and times:

  • Saturday, February 15th, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Sunday 16 February, from 15:30 to 17:00
  • From Monday 17th to Saturday 22nd February, from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 17:00.
  • Sunday 23 final at
  • Monday 24th February Children's Parade, from 11:00 to 13:00
  • Tuesday 25th contest dedicated to costumes inspired by the Carnival theme "The Game, Love & Folly", from 11:00 to 13:00

The Game, Love & Folly: The 12 Marys tell Goldoni and the Carnival

The Game, Love & Folly, the theme of this Carnival 2020, will be told by the 12 Marys through Carlo Goldoni's comedies: songs interpreted and illustrated, accompanied by Alexandra Foffano's choreography, which will help in the search for the most beautiful Mary.

Tuesday 18 February, 6:00 pm, Carlo Goldoni's house in Calle dello Scaleter 2794

Free event, reservation required here

An evening with Harlequin and Pierrot

Harlequin and Pierrot, typical masks of the Commedia dell'Arte, will be the protagonists of an intriguing multimedia event: a first part with the animated film "Pauvre Pierrot" followed by a monologue on the love of Harlequin. The second part is dedicated to dance and music for clarinet and cello.

  • Thursday, February 20, from 17:00 to 18:30, Ateneo Veneto in Campo Fantin 1897.

Free event

This is just our selection of the unmissable events of this 2020 Carnival. For the complete program, refer to the official website, here

For Carnival events in the surroundings of Venice, click here

For the events of the Carnival of Mestre, click here

PLEASE NOTE: All the events foresee a large influx of spectators in spaces with a rather small capacity of containment, and for a short time. We recommend, to all those who want to participate in the events, the places concerned well in advance, so as to settle in an orderly manner, without creating inconvenience. And with the same order it is recommended to flow.

For the handicapped or those with reduced mobility, it is not recommended to reach the most crowded areas. Please note that on this occasion, the municipality may, for safety reasons, set up one-way streets or other changes to pedestrian traffic.

Remember that when you take part in the Venice Carnival you are guests of the city and its citizens who live it every day: it is essential never to forget, during your stay, that to show respect for Venice and Venetians is fundamental! Do not forget that, while you are in the city to have fun, very often Venetians live their daily life made of work and personal commitments: so, try not to be in the way, collaborating with the organization of the Municipality. Leave the city clean, as you will find it when you arrive: you will have a better memory of it!

We also inform you that this year the Venice Carnival is green and plastic free: plastic lanyards and streamers are strictly forbidden throughout the Municipality of Venice.

Venice welcomes you, take care of it!

Happy Carnival to all ;-)