Category Archives: Festivals & events

Festivals, events, music, and more. For a list of selected events on now, see What’s On.

Floating Carnevale

Judging by the crowds that lined bridges as well as the number of participating boats and rowers, the Corteo Carnevale isbecoming almost as popular as the Vogalonga.

This costumed procession is held on the first weekend of the two-week long Carnevale, open to anyone and everyone that knows how to row Venetian-style and can get their hands on an oar. Costumes range from simple to ornate, sensational to silly (keep your eyes peeled for the peanut), handmade to half-baked. The procession winds its way up the Grand Canal from the Salute, and is followed by a festa in the Canale Cannaregio, with a flying rat, awards for best costume and a party running the length of the fondamenta.

For more superb photos of this spectacular event, visit

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Procession of the Magi, Torre dell’Orologio

Screen shot 2010-01-04 at 12.44.39 PM.pngIf you’re in the city on Epiphany (Wednesday, January 6th) be sure to pass through the Piazza San Marco to view the Procession of the Magi at the Torre dell’Orologio. Every hour on the hour, the archangel Gabriele will appear triumphantly at the left door on the half circle above the clock and below the lion. Followed by three adoring Magi, he’ll proceed along the mechanized track in front of the Madonna, then reenter the clocktower on the opposite side.

The procession of the Magi occurs only on Epiphany and Ascension Day (which in 2010 will fall on May 13th).

You may also tour of the Torre dell’Orologio’s fascinating interior, €12 per person. To reserve, stop by the Museo Correr, call 041 520 9070 from Monday to Friday between 9 and 6 p.m., or for complete info see

Regata delle Befane: A Venice Epiphany Tradition

Screen shot 2010-01-04 at 12.58.13 AM.pngAt 11 a.m. on Epiphany, Wednesday, January 6th, the 32nd annual Regata delle Befane will be held on the “Canalazzo,” the Grand Canal. This is not an official Comune sporting event, but rather annual festivity organized by the historic Cannotieri Bucintoro (a rowing club founded in 1882).

Just for the heck of it, five males over 55 will don haggy, witchy costumes to race their single-oared mascarete boats from the Palazzo Bilbo at San Tomà to the Rialto Bridge.

It will be worth bundling up against the cold to see these colorful, hefty befane (traditionally, the good-natured if plug-ugly witch who brings children gifts on Epiphany while sweeping up a bit with her broom) racing frantically up the canal. The mascareta, a small, light craft that unlike the classic gondola, has no bend to help it stay on course when being rowed by single oar. So for every forward stroke which propels the boat forward, a reverse stroke must be employed to hold the boat on course. Che fatica, how exhausting! But great fun.

Here’s the schedule for the regata and the festivities to which everyone is invited:

  • 8:00 At the Magazzini del Sale, the Befane don their costumes
  • 9.30 The rowers head up the Canal Grande.
  • 10.30: Festivities begin on Riva del Vin at the Rialto (the San Polo side, below the bridge), with Venetian music, chocolate and vin brulè for all, and a candy-toss from the giant stocking hanging from the bridge.
  • 11.00: The regata departs from the Palazzo Balbi at San Tomà.
  • 11.15: Estimated finish at the Rialto
  • 11.45: Coronation of winning Befana 2010.

The Epiphany is the Day of the Befana in Italy – and in Venice, a regata is the only way to celebrate!

* photo courtesy

Tenuta Sella Wines at the Bistrot de Venise

There is a free tasting today, but these rare wines will also be offered at a special price for the next two weeks as well. If you’re in town and are any sort of a wine enthusiast, it’s a definite Don’t Miss. Location and map link are below.


Thursday, November 12th, 2009
4.00 p.m. – free admission

With the joint aim of promoting “Venice: Wine Capital” and to spread awareness and encourage tasting of their excellent, typical qualities, for two weeks the Bar and Restaurant of the Bistrot will be offering the wines of Northern Piedmont at a “flat rate” We invite you stop by and take advantage of this tasting opportunity.


The Sella family has been producing wine in the Lessona DOC area since 1671, making it one of the oldest Italian wineries still in operation. La Tenuta Sella has been dedicated to small-scale, high-quality production since its inception, and maintains its original artisan size still today. (Some wines are produced from high-quality, extremely low yield vines of over 80 years of age, for example.)

Sella is a producer of Lessona and Bramaterra DOC wines from a delimited area located about halfway between Torino and Milano, inching up toward the lakes and the Alps – far north of their more widely known Nebbiolo relations of Barolo and Barbaresco. This is instead the western part of a ring of extremely fine denominations that continue in the neighbouring Gattinara, Ghemme, and Boca.

Northern Piedmont is one of the three classic areas of Nebbiolo (called Spanna in this area, just to keep us confused.), along with Langa and Valtellina. Here the noble Nebbiolo vine is never monovarietal, but always alternated with rows of Vespolina, Croatina or Uva Rara varieties. For this reason, the Lessona and Bramaterra are made with a predominant base of Nebbiolo and lower percentages of these ancient local vines.

(If you spot a wine called “I Porfidi,” make sure not to pass it up…)

Bravo Le Bistrot!

Presentation by Gioacchino Sella and the oenologist Cristiano Garella
Coordinators: Giovanni Vazzoler and Sergio Fragiacomo
With the support of AIS, the Italian Wine Sommeliers’ Association – Venice

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Le Bistro de Venise

San Marco
Calle dei Fabbri 4685

Located halfway between
Campo San Luca and the
Piazza San Marco

Be sure to check their website for on-going event information at the Bistrot.

Taste Wines of the Colli Euganei – Gratis

Taste the wines of fifteen producers from the Colli Euganei
at the sumptuous Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista

Monday, 26 october, from 2 p.m. til 7:30 p.m.

coverintro.jpgThis is what one might refer to as un’occasione. In an effort to let enthusiasts get a real sense of the wines produced in thsi Veneto zona DOC, fifteen producers from the Colli Euganei are gathering in the beautiful Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista (c. 1251) next Monday afternoon. If you’re in town, and you’re at all interested in wine, please do stop by.

What to expect?

The Colli (hills) Euganei region lies south and just east of Padova, and is formed roughly by a triangle of the three towns of Vo, Torreglia, and Arqua Petrarca (a lovely stop if your winding your way through the Veneto, by the way). The wines are young, a mix of spumante and still, red and white, dry and sweet. The whites are pleasing, fresh, and aromatic; the reds structured but not imposing. You’ll find varieties you recognize, like Chardonnay, Riesling (Italico), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and others you may be less familiar with:

  • Pinello (recent white, fresh, dry, still or spumante)
  • Serprino (similar to Prosecco)
  • Tocai Italico
  • Cabernet Franc

The Bianco DOC may consist of any or all of the white varieties in specified percentages; the Rosso DOC will combine reds that may even include Barbera. Look for the fresh spumanti like  Fior d’Arancio, a famed moscato giallo, whose sweetness is balanced by a fresh acidity and an exploding bouquet, and the rarer Moscato Rosso di Parenzo, a red aromatic that you must try should it be offered.

You may also find less familiar ways of vinifying these wines, but do adventure there as well: some of the passiti, dessert wines fermented from what might be termed as raisins, with round concentrated fruit balanced by higher alcohol, yet still-fresh acidity.

The producers you’ll find are:

  • Alla Costiera
  • Ca’ Lustra
  • Ca’ Orologio
  • Castello di Lispida
  • Colle Mattara
  • Conte Emo Capodilista – La Montecchia
  • Il Filò delle Vigne
  • Il Mottolo
  • Monteforche
  • Montegrande
  • Sengiari
  • Vignalta
  • Vigna Roda
  • Vignale di Cecilia e Villa Sceriman

I do hope you can make it. Salute!