Why Venice Winter?
More Time to Explore | And in Winter, Venice has Great Festivals

The beauty of a Venice Winter I can't describe with words. Above all, the events during the Winter are a pleasant experience...

During my visits in the Winter, I have more time to wander around in the almost empty streets, houses, museums, churches, and grand canals. It's the time of the year when most Venice tourism has returned. This means you have more time to explore, and you will see Winter in Venice is all right! Search which hotels are available during the Winter.

In the coldest months, a fog comes up from the water and is given an extra dimension. Experience the natural beauty of Venice and get lost. But what are the things to do during the winter period in Venice?

I will show you the...

...Events during Venice Winter

La befana, VeniceFestival Epifania

In winter, there are many festivals in Venice. I will tell you about the most important events.

January 6: Festival Epifania: The festival represents a significant part of the Italian Christmas. This whole celebration of Epiphany is a typical annual event in Italy. In Venice they extend the festival with a regatta, which makes it special. 

This event is celebrating the twelfth day after Christmas. On this day, the three kings came to the baby Jesus to worship him.

The kind witch, "La Befana," plays a significant role during Epifania. The story goes that the witch is flying around on her broomstick on the night of January 5. She is climbing chimneys to give candy and gifts to children. And La Befana leaves naughty children coal in their socks behind.

The legend says that the three kings stopped the night before they came to baby Jesus at an older woman's home to ask for directions. They invited her to join their journey, but she refused because she was too busy. Then, a shepherd asked the older woman to accompany him on his trip, but again, she rejected the offer.

Later that evening, the older woman saw a bright light in the sky and took this as a sign. She decided to follow the three kings and the shepherds on their way. She carried gifts and some items that belonged to her deceased child. But unfortunately, the older woman got lost on her way to the baby Jesus. She is now still flying around on her broomstick. By bringing gifts to children, she hopes to find baby Jesus.

La Befana Regatta Venice Italy

La Befana Regatta: Traditionally, during this "Regatta" festival, there is also a boat race on the Grand Canal. This race is between San Toma and Rialto. The Venetians who join are dressed as women or witches, fighting to win.

Here's what you might expect from the regatta:

  1. Participants Dress Up: Participants, usually men, dress up as La Befana, wearing old dresses, scarves, and headcovers, imitating the old witch. Some go all out with makeup and accessories.
  2. Boat Race: The participants compete in a boat race along the Grand Canal. The course is between points of interest like San Toma and Rialto.
  3. Spectacle for Tourists and Locals: The sight of dozens of 'witches' rowing vigorously down the Grand Canal makes for a memorable and photogenic scene. Both tourists and locals line up along the banks and bridges of the canal to cheer on the participants and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
  4. Prizes: Like in most races, winners often receive prizes. Given the festive nature of the event, these might range from traditional trophies to fun, thematic rewards.
  5. Cultural Importance: The regatta is more than just a race; it's a celebration of Venetian culture and tradition, blending the ancient tale of La Befana with the city's rich maritime history.

However, I should note that the main Befana celebrations across Italy might not typically include a boat race. The regatta in Venice is a unique and local adaptation of the broader Befana tradition.

Venice Winter Carnival

Venetian Carnival: From mid-January until Shrove Tuesday, the traditional carnival with Commedia dell 'arte and the Venetian ​masks.

Ash Wednesday: End of the carnival with the symbolic burning of Pantalone. Then, a mask parade on the Riva Degli Schiavoni.

October: First Sunday, a wine festival at Sant'Erasmo with music, dancing, drinking, and rowing competitions. End of October: Venice Marathon starts in Stra. In 2015, I joined this marathon. Read more >

November 21st November: Festa Della Salute - the celebration of the ending of the plaque with a procession of barges to the Santa Maria Della Salute. Afterward, wine and donuts.

New Year's Eve: Experience New Year's Eve in Venice, Italy, with fireworks on St. Marks Square and hugging all the Italian people around you. The atmosphere and mystique make it a wonderful experience. Read my tips for New Year's Eve in Venice >

Surprisingly, discover Venice Winter!

The Public Holidays in Venice Italy

Stay in Venice Italy

Always handy to know! It would be best if you took notice of the public holidays in Venice. The vaporetto service has a different schedule, and some shops are closed. But, mostly, the museums are all open.

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • January 6: Festival Epifania
  • April: Easter Monday
  • April 25: Liberty day and Saint Mark's Day
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • June 2: Republic Day
  • August 15: Assumption of the Virgin Mary ( Ferragosto )
  • November 1: All Saints day
  • December 8: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • December 25 and 26: Christmas and St. Stephen's Day

By Rudmer Hoekstra (author):


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