May 2, 2024 8 min read

I Witnessed the Magic of the 2024 Venice Carnival

I know... it's a late review... but I tried to write it at the time when all the prices and other details were fresh in my mind, and due to a poorly made click, everything got deleted.

Venice Carnival 2024

So I gave up, but I think some information might still be useful now or in the future. We had made a reservation from home, fearing that we wouldn't find available transportation.

But we were mistaken... in front of the airport, there are several buses departing one after another, and there is also a ticket machine on the platform where you can buy a ticket, and if you're struggling, the bus drivers will help you.

The Charming Sadness of a Sicilian Village
Through the splendid landscape - rolling towards the mountains - we make our way to Gangi, one of the architectural gems of the island.

The weather when we arrived was just like the weather forecast, rainy!!! Hoping that by the time we got to Venice it would stop, we set off. The journey took about an hour to Piazza del Roma. Across from the bus station is the station for the vaporetto.

Venice Carnival 2024 street show

To travel on the Grand Canal up to the Zaccaria station, you must take Line 2 directly. I mention that we had to get off here because our accommodation was nearby. But more on that in another review.

From this station, you can also take Line 2 and Line 1. And if you read the display, you can see that both pass through the Zaccaria (San Marco) station, but one detours around the island, and the scenery isn't as spectacular.

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We decided to go back and enjoy our vacation in these blessed places.

The station was very crowded, understandably because it was the Venice Carnival... many people dressed in stunning period costumes were heading towards San Marco Square, tourists were hurrying, wet from the rain, and people were confused about which line to take.

We insisted on taking Line 2 to see the entire canal with its spectacular bridges, but we had no luck, the locals insisted on taking any line because it all leads to the same place!

venice carnival street show

So, our plan was scrapped and we ended up taking Line 1... the vaporetto cost was 9.5 euros.

We arrived at the station, by then the rain had stopped, and we entered another world... everything was absolutely beautiful... a swarm of people, everywhere you looked there were costumes, costumes, and more costumes.

We hurried to our accommodation so we could enjoy the remaining hours before dark. We went to San Marco Square, which was a 10-minute walk from our accommodation, where street performances had already started.

Venice Carnival 2024 street dance show

The square was invaded by itinerant musicians, acrobats, and clowns, whose performances we could watch for free. In Santo Stefano Square, San Marco, approximately every hour, outdoor theater performances were scheduled.

For the first day, the flight, transfer, search for accommodation, the shows we saw, and the bad weather were enough, so on the way back home we looked for a terrace where we could eat and found a very nice one, where we ended up dining each day.

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We found the terrace ROBERTO where the waiters were delightful, helpful, humorous, and the food was of good quality. They also had a daily menu consisting of a serving of pasta with seafood, a serving of calamari, and a salad, all for 20 euros.

In the morning, we had breakfast at a small, intimate cafe near our accommodation that opened at 8:00 AM. A cappuccino was 4 euros, still water was 3 euros, and a croissant was 2.30 euros.

Venice Carnival 2024 cosutmes

From back home, we made reservations through GETYOURGUIDE for the "Secrets of the Venice Carnival and the Life of Casanova" tour, which cost 190 EUR for three people. We also booked visits to the Fenice Theatre for 12.5 euros per person, a gondola ride for 150 euros for three people, and a full ticket for the San Marco museums for 30 euros per person...

Knowing the reputation of the seducer, gambler, and trickster Casanova, we chose the tour about his life to learn some juicy details!

Sardinian Delicacies we ate in our vacation to Alghero
Let’s start with… the drink! With a light, afternoon aperitif, i.e. an Aperol soda – Aperol with sparkling mineral water and ice.

After walking in the rain for 2 hours, to the point where our raincoats could no longer handle the dampness, we learned that he was a man of letters, an avid traveler, a person of impressive erudition who defied society by ignoring social boundaries, one of the greatest French-language writers of his time, an extraordinary memoirist who chose how he wanted to live and lived in complete freedom, in the most modern sense of the word.

So, from my point of view, the tour wasn't worth it... (just kidding)!!

Venice Carnival 2024 street costumes

On the other hand, the Fenice Theatre was worth every penny... It has been destroyed by flames several times, but each time it has been rebuilt. It is the venue for an important opera season and the International Contemporary Music Festival.

On the occasion of the centennial celebration of Maria Callas's birth, the Teatro La Fenice Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Venice, promoted initiatives dedicated to the famous soprano that took place around and in conjunction with her birthday.

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Bosa is the Sardinian town located at the Temo River’s outlet into the sea, which is the island’s only navigable river.

Venice also witnessed her love story with Aristotle Onassis and houses photographs, documents, and posters at the Teatro La Fenice.

We wanted our gondola ride to be just the three of us, so we booked a private tour... but guess what? The day before, we checked the weather forecast and torrential rain was predicted, so... we tried to change the tickets and reschedule the ride.

Venice Carnival stilt walkers

The meeting point and the place where we changed the tickets was in San Marco Square at Riva degli Schiavoni. On the pier where the gondolas are moored, there are many points where you can make a reservation and Riva degli Schiavoni is one of them.

The route was quite short, and again we didn’t see even half of the Grand Canal... a second disappointment!!

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The routes must be carefully studied before choosing one, as the price depends on the distance. You can also find gondoliers on the smaller canals and negotiate with them.

For the rest of the day and during the remaining hours, we enjoyed the costume parade in San Marco, which took place between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. On certain days of the carnival, the main events were held on the colorful and exotic island of Burano in the Venice lagoon.

Venice Carnival people in costumes

But in the evening on the way to our accommodation, tired from walking through the narrow streets of Venice, an idea started to sprout in my mind... it also stemmed from the fact that we passed by the CA’ DEL SOL display window near Ponte dei Carmini which advertised costume rentals!!

So, I suddenly perked up and said let's do this!! Even though I expected it to be quite expensive. I went inside, and there... it was like a miracle... I had stepped into another era...

An impressive collection that covered most historical periods: rental of ancient costumes, Renaissance costumes, Elizabethan era costumes, Baroque, Victorian era costumes, 1920s costumes, 1940s costumes, Disco costumes, Venetian costumes.

Venice Carnival show

My wife chose a dress within my budget... in her opinion, it was gorgeous even though it wasn't the top one!! I booked it in the evening, and at 9:00 AM the next morning we went to pick it up.

The ladies there are super professional and along with the dress they provide all the necessary accessories for that dress, from gloves and hats to purses, jewelry, and even shoes. The dress I rented cost 350 euros for 24 hours. Dressed so beautifully, she really looked like a lovely Venetian lady, we went out... and from there, the ordeal began!!!

Venice Carnival dress

And after all those adventures, the day to return home finally arrived. Since there are many tourists and increasingly fewer locals, they are tired and bored, and when you ask for information, it is given evasively, and you often end up going in circles!!

On our way back, we didn't let ourselves be fooled again and studied the vaporetto routes well so we could travel along the Grand Canal to Piazzale Roma where we were to catch the bus to the airport.

Venice Grand Canal

Here, I really want to make it clear that on line 2 you can travel from San Marco-VALLERESSO, which is on the right side (with the Doge's Palace to the left) towards the Royal Gardens. After purchasing the ticket, it is validated at the machine that opens the mini-barrier to the vaporetto.

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In conclusion, I come with the following advice:

  • the most spectacular time is the first day of the festival when the Venetian Boat Festival takes place, starting from Dogana da Mar, near the Salute Church, and ending at Rialto Bridge, one of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal. I was there four days after the opening... everything is fascinating, but the first day is spectacular!!
  • tickets to enter museums should be bought online otherwise you risk spending all day in lines
  • to travel on the Grand Canal by vaporetto, you need to be on line 2
  • you should not miss the classical music performances that are everywhere
  • and the experience with dressing up should not be missed.

Thank you for reading and make sure to subscribe. We're constantly exploring new destinations and share our stories, tips, and the beauty we discover along the way.

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