The Year Begins with a Celebration of New Year's Day on the Beach.

Carnival - In the ten days leading up to Shrove Tuesday
Carnival, or Carnevale, takes place before Lent each winter, finishing on Shrove Tuesday. Events include pageants, commedia dell'arte, concerts and masked balls. Many people wear fancy dress for the duration of the festivities.

Su e zo per i ponti - second Sunday in March
A marathon running race around the streets of Venice, with the contestants running up and down the bridges, as the name suggests.

St Mark's Day - 25 April
Feast in honour of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice, when men give women a long-stemmed red rose (it is also the celebration of the "Býcolo" (rose bud)). A gondola race takes place in Bacina di San Marco.

May 1 A festival and regatta, held in the lagoon. La Sensa: Marriage to the Sea - First Sunday after Ascension
This is an annual ceremony which reaffirms the "marriage" of Venice and the Adriatic. The mayor travels with his party by boat to the Lido, and drops a gold ring into the sea before attending a service at the San Nicolý church. Anyone who manages to dive in and retrieve the ring may keep it, and is free from all state taxes for the following year.

Vogalonga - First Sunday after Ascension
A rowing race over a 32km course, from Bacina di San Marco to Burano and back.

The Venice Biennale - June-September
The Biennale was historically the first international Modern and Contemprary Art festival. It takes place every other year, the next will take place in 2005. Most events are located in the Giardini Pubblici at National Pavilions and at the Corderie dell'Arsenale.

Festa del Redentore - Third Sunday in July
Religious ceremonies are held every year in the Redentore church on the Giudecca tocommemorate the end of the plague of 1577. Visitors can reach the church by crossing the Giudecca Canal over a pontoon bridge specially built for the weekend. Decorated boats fill the lagoon to watch the spectacular firework display on the previous evening. A huge feast of traditional Venetian dishes is held along the Giudecca waterfront, followed by dancing on the Lido. On the Sunday a regatta is held in the Giudecca Canal.

Regata di Pellestrina - First Sunday in August
This is held for the popular feast of the Madonna dell'Apparizione (the Virgin of the Apparition). The regatta is held on the lagoon side of the island.

The Venice Film Festival
The first in the world, it takes place during the August, and is second only in importance to the Cannes Film Festival. Take any water bus to the Lido to catch the action, or book into the Excelsior Hotel and mingle with the stars!

Regatta Storica - First Sunday in September
A procession of decorated craft along the Grand Canal is followed by a race for city gondoliers and other expert rowers. Spectators are expected to cheer on the teams and are often given appropriate colours to wave.

Regata di Burano - Third Sunday in September
This regatta concludes the season's rowing events and is known as the "rematch of the Historical Regatta". The competitions are held in front of the island. On land, the regatta can be seen from the fondamenta where the ACTV waterbuses stop. Take lines 42 or 52 to Fondamente Nuove, then line 12 to Burano.

St. Martin's Day - 11 November
Venetian children run through the city, banging pots and pans with wooden spoons. It is traditional to reward the children by giving them a few coins. Special cakes depicting St Martin are baked in celebration.

Festa della Salute
21 November On November 21st each year, city workers lay a pontoon bridge over the Grand Canal from the San Marco district to the Salute church. Citizens walk across the bridge to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for delivering them from a plague in the 16th century.


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