Venice is best explored in the middle of the spring, specifically in the middle of May. The cold has dissipated. The heat of the sun is just right. The temperature is favorable with the everyday sunshine. The attractions are open minus the flock of tourists. The month of May is thus an ideal vacation time if you no plans of going to the beach. The next ideal time to visit is in the middle of September.
Planning a vacation? Looking for an adventure? Here are 101 crazy things to do before you die.
- Peak Season
- Shoulder Season
- Low Season
- The Best Time to Ride a Gondola
- The Best Time to Drop by in the Rialto Markets
- The Best Time to Tour around Venice
- The Best Time to Participate in the Carnivale
- Monthly Weather in Venice
- Popular Events in Venice
Summer is the peak season. It starts in June and lasts until August. As it is in the summer, expect plenty of sunshine, high temperature, irritating bugs, and crowds. Be ready also that hotel prices are at its peak. Like the sun, the cost of riding gondolas is at its highest as well. Tourists maximize the sunny days to cross this activity out of their bucket lists. Compared to the other cities of Italy that are probably boiling during the summer, Venice is blessed with a milder climate. Tourists will be able to tolerate it besides several hotels in Venice are air-conditioned. Read more about family-friendly hotels in Venice.
The months of April and May as well as September and October are the most ideal period to visit Venice.
The shoulder season starts in spring (March until May) and towards autumn (September until November). These months offer lovely weather suited for visiting the attractions. Venice melts in spring. By March, temperature reaches 50ºF. By May, temperature increases to 70ºF. There will be less people in Venice as autumn comes. This also means that the temperature decreases to lower 50ºC until higher 30ºF. Carry a reliable coat with you for your autumn vacation.
It starts in winter from December until February. This is the season with least number of visitors and lowest temperature of 30ºC to 40ºC. The hotels are cheaper. Except for Carnevale in February, the activities are fewer during the low season with attractions open only for a shorter time frame, mostly until 5pm. Winter also means that the south of Venice, Zatteree as well as St. Mark’s Square get flooded. It is business as usual though. You can buy boots from some souvenir stores and tobacco shops (tabacchi) to protect your feet from the water.
The Best Time to Ride a Gondola
You can ride a gondola year-round. The dreamiest time would be at the start of spring, towards the end of fall or winter. You can share an intimate moment in the canal as the boats are minimal and the water calm. The cool weather is the perfect excuse for a tight hug while a blanket is over you. A gondola ride in the summer is less romantic as the canals are filled with tourists and the temperature is boiling hot. The peak time for tourists is at nightfall or sunset. To avoid the crowd and get the panoramic photograph with the canals, visit in the early afternoon or late morning instead. The ride will be cheaper as well. Riding a gondola in Venice is a unique experience regardless of the season.
The Best Time to Drop by in the Rialto
Situated at the heart of the city dating back to ancient times, Rialto Bridge is a prime tourist destination all throughout the year. Regardless of the temperature, people flock to the bridge for the views or to explore the local vegetable and fish market. The most ideal time to go is Friday or Saturday before 9 in the morning. This will give you a scenic view of the activities as the markets start to tone down beyond noon. It is not open on Mondays and Sundays.
The Best Time to Tour around Venice
There are less people and the heat decreases. As much as possible, avoid touring Venice in August. It is the peak of the summer heat and when bugs and tourists swarm in. Whenever is your Venice vacation, go for sightseeing early in the morning. You get to appreciate well St. Mark’s Square and you are first on the line for the Campanile and the Basilica. Not to mention, you will have instagram-worthy pictures with the perfect light. Also read about visiting Florence here.
The Best Time to Participate in the Carnivale
Carnivale is one of the grandest Italian festivities. However, Venice takes it to a whole new level. Carnivale is celebrated as a final festivity prior to Ash Wednesday and Lent, 40 days prior to Easter. Activities are on-going from 2 to 3 weeks prior to the exact day of the Carnival. There are events such as street performances, concerts and fluvial parade that are accessible to the public for free. You need an invitation and pay an expensive ticket to attend a luxurious masquerade party. If you come to Venice on a weekday of the first week of Carnivale, the party ambience is not yet felt. There is Campo San Polo’s skating rink and some simple events. However, all the fun and enthusiasm pour in once the weekends start especially on the last weekend. As the heart of the festivities, St. Mark Square is active for the rest of the week. But the tourists flock to the square by weekend to watch the intricate masks and costumes that are paraded. Amidst the celebrations, the residential areas remain silent though.
Monthly Weather in Venice
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 6°C
Ave. Precipitation- 58mm
January is the peak of winter and silence. Temperature is about 3°C during the day and can drop below freezing point in the evening. The fog covers the canal, giving it a romantic and ethereal ambience. In January, it is estimated that there would nine rainy days of around 58 mm of precipitation. The rest of the days are a bit cloudy. In a fraction of the day, expect the usual light to moderate rain. You can still go outside but make sure to wear clothes that will keep you warm as the temperature can get frigid. Carry a scarf, a pair of gloves, hat and coat with you. The best part though is you will be able to appreciate the attractions without the influx of tourists.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 8°C
Ave. Precipitation- 50mm
Expect that cold temperature remains and can drop to 1°C from 5°C to 6°C. There is around 9-hour sunlight one month prior. But by the 1stday of February, there is an additional 45 minutes of sunlight. Sunset is at 6pm towards the end of February with more than 11-hour sunlight during the day. You can enjoy a dreamy gondola ride as the fog in the canal is a bit heavy. There is a lot of moist although there is no considerable rain. The daylight is getting longer. However, keep the clothes that will keep you warm.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 12°C
Ave. Precipitation- 60mm
During the day, temperature starts at 8°C until 12°C. In the evening it drops down to 4°C. Daylight lasts up to 12 hours. At the end of March, there is an additional 45 minutes with a 7:30 pm sunset. March is wet season in Venice. Expect rainfall for about 12 days from sporadic light rain to moderate rain with a precipitation of about 64mm. There is also the possibility of thunderstorms. As it is both cool and rainy, bring a coat, a raincoat with hood, a scarf and a hat for you to explore Venice with ease.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 16°C
Ave. Precipitation- 60mm
The weather gets more enjoyable when April comes. The weather starts to warm up a bit but still with a touch of coolness. In the evening, temperature drops to 12°C. In the morning, temperature can get to 16°C. April has the same precipitation as March at 64mm in a span of 13 days. Sporadic thunderstorms come with the moderate rain. As the weather gets inconsistent, it would be safe to carry an umbrella or a hooded jacket to cover your light clothes. Daylight is longer lasting beyond 14 hours. Expect an 8:17pm at the end of April.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 21°C
Ave. Precipitation- 70mm
By May, the temperature increases and so is the number of people visiting the city. It is the seasons of tourists. Sunshine starts its blast with about 21°C during the day. By evening, temperature is at 12°C. On the 1stday of May, temperature starts at 15°C. By the last day of May, the temperature reaches 23°C.
You can also expect thunderstorms or moderate rain with a precipitation of 70mm in a span of 11 days. More and more bugs swarm with the people. Usual clothing consists of shorts or pants and light top or shirt during the day and a sweater at night. If you’re going to do water sports and beach bumming also bring your swimwear.
Tourism is on-going. The heat also continues to manifest itself. The days are longer, hotter and with more sun. Expect that temperature can only go down to 16°C in the evening but reaches 24°C during the day. There are thunderstorms in the afternoon spanning into 12 days. June 20 is the longest day with sunshine that lasts to 16 hours.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 28°C
Ave. Precipitation- 63mm
July is the peak of both tourism and temperature. It can get to 28°C during the day, dropping only to 18°C in the evening. Daylight lasts beyond 15 ½ hours. Summer rain is manifested through thunderstorms with a precipitation of about 63mm. Usual clothing are sandals, t-shirts, and shorts. For a trip to the beaches such as Lido, carry your swimwear. For some nightlife, you can retain your light comfy clothes. Do not forget your big-brimmed hat and sunblock.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 27°C
Ave. Precipitation- 70mm
The heat and chaos have not died down. Temperature is at 27°C in the morning and at 18°C in the warm night. Daylight is up to 14 hours with the sun setting at 8pm. The shortest day is the 31stof August. Enjoy the sun and the water by sailing, rowing or dipping to the sea. But do not forget to rest from the heat by going indoors or opening up your umbrella when the sun is at its peak. Thunderstorms are still expected with a precipitation of 70 mm in a span of 9 days.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 24°C
Ave. Precipitation- 70mm
There is a decrease in temperature with lowest at 15°C and the highest is at 24°C. You can observe light rain after the thunderstorms. However, the precipitation is not that remarkable and takes place in span of 9 days. The crowd has also lessened. Daylight decreases as well to just 12 hours at the end of September.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 18°C
Ave. Precipitation- 70mm
Both the heat and tourism have ended. Temperature begins to cool down between 14°C and 16°C. In the evening, the temperature further goes down to 10°C and you will need a jacket or sweater. There are sporadic thunderstorms that come with the moderate rain. Similar with September, precipitation is at around 70 mm spanning 10 days. By the end of October, the sun goes down at around 5 in the afternoon with daylight just lasting to 10 hours.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 11°C
Ave. Precipitation- 70mm
Drastic change in weather can be observed. The lowest temperature is at 4°C and goes up only to 11°C. At the start of the month, the highest temperature is at 10°C. By November 30, this decreases to 7°C. Evening can get cold to a number of degrees over freezing point. By the middle of the November, Venice becomes wet as rainfall increases. You would need a warm coat and an umbrella.
Ave. Maximum Temperature- 7°C
Ave. Precipitation- 50mm
Ready your warm clothing such as scarves, gloves, hats, bulky sweaters and warm coats. They come in handy to protect you from the temperature close to freezing point which only goes up to 7°C. The air is cool with intense mist and fog sweeping through the city. Water-resistant footwear and umbrella will be useful. Daylight is only at 9 hours or less. The briefest day is in the middle of December with a 4:30pm sunset.
Popular Events in Venice
New Year’s Day : Italy considers the 1stday of the year as national holiday. Most Venetians begin their year by swimming in any of Lido’s beaches. Expect that the majority of dining places, shopping areas, and tourist spots such as museums are not open to the public.
La Befana or Epiphany: It is holiday celebrated nationwide every 6thof January. This signals Christmas’ 12thday. To celebrate that the good witch La Befana has come, shoes of children are filled with toys and candies the night before which they will see in the morning. Parades and celebrations are all over Italy. La Regatta delle Befane is particularly observed in Venice. This regatta takes place in the Grand Canal. The men wear witch costumes as they have a boat race.
Feast of Saint Anthony Abbott- Less grand compared to La Befana, this is a holiday celebrated every 16thand 17thof January in Venice. Saint Anthony Abbott is the patron saint of basket weavers, gravediggers, butchers, and animals. By this time, Carnevale also starts in Venice. On the morning of January 17, there is a mass after the festival’s opening bonfire across the square’s two parishes. To bless the animals and children, balloons are freed on the same piazza.
Shopping Sales Post-Holiday– Mandated by the state, this sale runs from 6 until 8 weeks beginning January. There is no exact date but it starts after the Epiphany. Stores display signs bearing the word SALDI, the word “sales” in Italian. Great deals and discounts between 25% and 35% are available .
Carnevale di Venezia: also known as Carnivale starts Ash Wednesday. It happens 40 days prior to Easter and spans between two and three weeks prior the exact day of the carnival. There is a nationwide celebration. However, Venice takes it to a whole new level. It continues its Carnivale tradition that has begun in 1162. For more than two weeks, the center of Venice turns into a live theater. Ten thousands of people attend the festivities in costumes. Piazza San Marco is the heart of the festival. Several participants join the frenzy of stage plays, street performances and juggling. The Grand Canal is the venue of the festival’s grand finale prior to Lent. Several gondolas silently parade down the canal lit with candles. The gondola and land parades attract several international and local spectators. Other activities such as kids’ carnivals and food fairs are aplenty.
Festa di San Valentino or Valentine’s Day: The Italian way of celebration has recently become like that of the Americans. It is common to eat candle-lit dinners and exchange love letters, chocolates and hearts. Government-managed museums offer buy 1 take 1 ticket for couples during Valentine’s Day. St. Mark’s Square has restaurants where you can get your drinks as a couple at night. Or better share a kiss while in a gondola as you pass through the renowned Bridge of Sights.
Festa della Donna: Celebrated each year every March 8 is the International Women’s Day. Italians call it Festa della Donna or Festival of Women. Women receive a bouquet of mimosa flowers in yellow. Men pamper women. They cook dinner and complete the household chores for their wives. They also go on a date in the clubs or in restaurants. There are even special menus dedicated to women. Just make sure to reserve your table before your date with the woman in your life. Venice also hosts several activities and performances during this day.
Festa di San Giuseppe: It is also known as Saint Joseph’s Feast Day or the Italians’ Father’s Day. Fathers eat the fried dough zeppole tradition and receive gifts from their children.
Easter Week: Begins on Palm Sunday, but either a week of March or April. Being a long weekend, tourists flock Venice while the locals have their vacation on the sea, mountains or the countryside. Those visiting Venice get to witness Easter activities, classical music performances and pageants. Several dining and shopping places are closed but most main attractions are open during Easter Sunday as well as the next Monday.
Settimana della Cultura:Commonly celebrated in the middle of April, the Week of Culture is the period when entry to tourist sites and national museums is free. Some of which are the Archeological Museum, Accademia, and the Ca d’Oro. The particular dates for Settimana della Cultura are only announced a few days prior to the occasion.
Liberation Day and Festa di San Marco: It is a nationwide holiday. It is the day that Partisans revolted and dismissed Mussolini. This is also the end of the German occupation and of World War II in 1945. April 25 is also the feast day of Saint Mark, Venice’s patron saint. Festivities take place in St. Mark’s Square. Dedications are held in Saint Mark’s Basilica (the place of his death on the 25thof April, 68 AD) in addition to the regatta of gondolas. As part of the customs, girlfriends or wives receive a red rose or “bocolo” from the men.
Festa della Sparesca and International Workers’ Day: Labour Day is held every May 1. It is nationwide holiday. If not taking advantage of the long weekend, a number of Venetians observe Festa della Sparesca or the regatta of the gondola drivers taking place in the lagoon of Cavillino.
Festa della Sensa: It happens 40 days beyond Easter, specifically the 1st Sunday next to Ascension Day. It is a Venetian feast celebrating the city’s relationship with the sea with ancient origins. The patriarch and the mayor ride the Serenissima and behind them are the vivid boats parading towards the sea.
Vogalonga: It takes place the next weekend after Festa della Sensa. Around 3000 rowers participate on this race that begins in San Marco Basin until Burano Island. It ends in Punta della Dogana as it passes by the Grand Canal. The race has a distance of 32 kilometers. And the boats float by oars and not by motors.
Festa della Repubblica: Annually every June 2, Republic Day takes place nationwide. It is Italy’s Independence Day. When the Second World War finished, by 1946 Italy became a Republic. There are announcement for special events and activities in Venice. A number of dining options are also open to tourists. Be ready though that restaurants and museum may not be open to the public around this time.
Palio of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics: Every four years, Venice hosts this event. Venice takes turn with Amalfi, Genoa and Pisa. By 2019, it is Venice’s turn. A parade takes place before the old-fashioned regatta. Those who participate march on the streets while wearing their medieval costumes.
Festival of the Redeemer: Also known as the Festa del Redentore is the largest occasion of the month. It symbolizes the eradication of the 1576 epidemic. This Venetian occasion is famous across the country. There is a parade of boats. A rowing race is also conducted. Several restaurants serve Venetian-themed dinner. Make sure to secure your table in the restaurants prior to the event. An elaborate fireworks display caps off the event.
Arena di Campo San Polo: This outdoor cinema is open from the end of July towards the last day of August. Venice’s biggest movie screen that displays some new movies but mostly last season’s hit films. A total of 6 English language movies are shown. The rest of the movies are Italian dubbed or in Italian.
Outdoor Concerts and Movies: Venice has plenty of squares such as Campo San Polo that serve as venues for open-air concerts and films for the whole of August. Watch out for announcements regarding the August activities.
La Biennale di Venezia: The International Theatre Festival, Festival of Contemporary Music, International Architecture Exhibition, International Art Exhibition, and International Film Festival are included on this grand art fair renowned worldwide. It is celebrated every odd-number year for every other year.
Ferragosto: the Assumption Holiday serves as the official start of summer vacation for the Italians. It happens every 15thof August. The main attraction sites and museums will remain open including the downtown stores. The rest will close. The residents go to the mountains or coasts to move away from the mosquitoes and heat. As part of the festivities, there is an elaborate fireworks display for Ferragosto.
Venice Film Festival: It takes place in Lido. A-listers attend this world-acclaimed film festival. Celebrities and big names of films walk the red carpets and ride the gondolas.
Festival of the Triumph of the Cross: It is celebrated every year on the 14thof September 14. It takes place in Sestiere di San Polo. The procession begins in the church of of San Giovanni Evangelista and the school Scuola Grande.
Regata Storica di Venezia: The most significant occasion in the regatta calendar. This is the renowned Regatta of Venice. It happens every 1stSunday of September. Gondolas and other kinds of boats participate in the 4 varied races. The Grand Canal hosts the race of the gondola with the drivers wearing costumes. The occasion is filled with food, music, and festivities.
Opera Season at La Fenice: It is a renowned opera house in Venice. It is a fantastic venue of opera that fans and visitors alike will appreciate. One of the featured operas is La Passion Selon Sade
Venice Marathon: This is world-renowned marathon that concludes in St. Mark’s Square and start in the city center. It takes place every 4thSunday of October.
Halloween: Young adults have grown fond of this foreign occasion. Party-goers wear costume for Halloween as they fill the nightclubs, restaurants and bars in Venice. Several stores also decorate their windows with Halloween themes.
Venice Events in November
All Saints Day: The public holiday of November 1stis the time for Italians to pay their respect to their departed loved one. Many visit their loved ones’ graves in the cemeteries of the island of San Michele. Venetians used to cross the bridge as they carry flowers they will later on offer to their departed relatives. At present, Venetians ride a water taxi called vaporetto to visit the graves of their departed loved ones.
Festa di San Martino: Takes place annually every 11thday of November. Children bring with them spoons and pots as they run havoc all through Venice. They sing chants for San Martino as they expect tokens and transfer their noise to another place.
Festa della Salute: Every 21stof November, La Salute festival is celebrated. This day is dedicated to the killer plague of the 17thcentury that wiped out 1/3 of the Venetians. The survivors constructed Madonna della Salute in Dorsoduro sesteire as gratitude to escaping death from the plague. As per tradition, starting in the neighborhood of San Marco, a footbridge is constructed over the Grand Canal’s pontoon boats. This bridge leads to the church’s main door. Residents attend the mass as their ancestors have done centuries before.
Hanukkah: Europe’s first Jewish Ghetto is in Venice. As part of the celebration, the Menorrah is lighted. You can also participate in different Hannukah activities and taste kosher dishes.
Christmas Markets: Starting in the middle of December, Campo Stefano’s Christmas Markets are open until the middle of January. You can listen to music. You can also buy yummy Italian delicacies, religious items, kid’s toys and handcrafted presents sold in the stalls.
Feast of the Immaculate Virgin: It is celebrated every 8thof December as a devotion to the Immaculate Conception. It is a nationwide holiday. Expect that several business establishments are closed.
Christmas Eve to Christmas: Christmas Eve is family time celebrated with a full-course dinner of fish. Venetians then go to Saint Mark’s Basilica for the midnight mass. The mass is not only in Italian but also in English, German, and French. It begins by 11:30 pm and is open to the public. Make sure to come early to secure your seats. December 25 is a family day for Venetians. It starts with a hearty family lunch and unwrapping gifts. At 4pm, the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari hosts a free concert.
Festa di San Silvestro or New Year’s Eve: The 31stof December is a night of several festivities across Venice and Italy. Piazza San Marco and the rest of Venice are alive with festivities. Hundreds of spectators go to Piazza San Marco for the dance, music and fireworks display. Not to mention the kiss by midnight over the toasts.