Dance, Theater, and Music

La Fenice

The venerable opera house hosts performances of opera, ballet, the symphony, and an occasional jazz show. Worth a visit just to ogle the spectacular interior, rebuilt in a variety of historic styles after the 1996 fire. Ticket prices vary. Campo S. Fantin 1965; tel. 39 041 24 24.

Teatro Malibran

Refurbished in 2001, the Malibran is one of the city’s top concert venues. The 900-seat theater operates in conjunction with the Fenice; some ballet, orchestra, and opera performances; Woody Allen played here in 2004. Ticket prices vary. Cannaregio 5873; tel. 39 041 24 24.

Teatro Fondamenta Nuove

“Tiny theater offers non-mainstream dance and music events, a real rarity in conservative Venice.”—Jonathan Buckley, author, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto. Audiovisual performance art, modern choreography, and readings, occasionally in English; 200-seat theater. Ticket prices vary; some events are free. Cannaregio 5013; tel. 39 041 522 4498.

Musica a Palazzo

Nightly performance of opera in the splendid 15th-century Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto on the Grand Canal. Audience moves from room to frescoed room with the singers and musicians. Tickets about $58. San Marco 2504; tel. 39 340 971 7272.


Campo Santa Margherita

“Venice nightlife is less about a specific bar and more about which campo to congregate in, and none is more lively for the late night crowd than Campo Santa Margherita.”—Jeff Booth, travel writer and photographer ( In addition to Caffè Rosso, with its outdoor tables, you’ll find Margaret Duchamp and Orange ( “Sip cocktails in the super-stylish bar [at Orange], then get up on the roof terrace and dance.”—Jonathan Buckley, author, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto.

Venice Jazz Club

Venice’s only jazz club opened in late 2006 near Campo Santa Margherita; features live concerts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Dorsoduro 3102; tel. 39 041 523 2056.


Bar on Campo San Luca frequently featuring live music including local jazz, ska, and funk bands or DJs. Few seats; most patrons stand outside to smoke and socialize while listening to the music. San Marco 459; tel. 39 041 522 3914.

Centrale Restaurant Lounge

“Without question the coolest bar-restaurant in town, with high-tech decor, stylish young clientele, and late hours.”—Jonathan Buckley, author, The Rough Guide to Venice & the Veneto. Repose on black leather couches in this ultra-modern, chrome-and-glass spot with views onto a canal and scenic street; listen to the house DJ mix the hits while sipping mojitos. San Marco 1659; tel. 39 041 296 0664.

Bacaro Lounge

Fashionable hot spot adjacent to the Mondadori bookstore near St. Mark’s Square; contemporary-chic circular bar downstairs and restaurant upstairs, connected by a glass staircase and open glass atrium. San Marco 1345; tel. 39 041 296 0687.


Cranks up the house music when the orchestras at Florian and Quadri wind down; thumping modern sounds and colorful lights on the venerable piazza; locals and travelers crowd the outside tables drinking prosecco, wine, and cocktails late into the night. San Marco 49; tel. 39 041 528 6405.


“Join the nighttime crowds of Venetians spilling out joyously into the market squares.”—Damien Simonis, author, Lonely Planet Venice and Venice Condensed. The cluster of late-night hot spots by the Erbaria includes Naranzaria, Bancogiro, and Muro Vino e Cucina (on the San Polo side of Rialto bridge); all serve sit-down meals or just cocktails.



February or March. Officially begins ten days before Lent; pre-Carnival events begin two days earlier. Revived about 30 years ago after being banned by the early 20th century fascist government; festivities now draw thousands of visitors daily; costume parades, concerts, fireworks, and expensive private costume balls. Tip: Make reservations for hotels and restaurants well in advance.

Festa della Sensa

May or early June. Maritime-focused commemoration of Ascension Day, 40 days after Easter. Not known for its religious fervor, Venice turned this Roman Catholic feast day into a ceremony demonstrating its maritime power; celebrates the city’s ceremonial marriage to the sea; costumed water parade, gondola races, and outdoor market at the church of San Nicolò del Lido.


Sunday in May or June, dates vary. Originally a protest against motorboats and dying traditional culture; marathon-length rowing event now draws thousands of rowers and spectators. Tip: Watch and photograph boats on the Cannaregio canal.

Venezia Suona

Dates vary; on a Sunday in June or July. One of the city’s newer traditions: bands play live music in squares and streets and on boats throughout the city, followed by a grand concert at St. Mark’s at night.

Festa del Redentore

Third Saturday in July. Palladio’s Church of the Redeemer was built on Giudecca in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague in the late 16th century. Celebrants cross a floating bridge from Dorsoduro to Giudecca to visit the church. Redentore has become one of the most authentic Venetian holidays, with residents partying all night on boats anchored in St. Mark’s Basin and feasting outdoors. Tip: There’s an impressive late-night fireworks display, so stake out a place to sit early.

Regata Storica

First Sunday in September. Historical, costumed procession of rowed boats down the Grand Canal commemorates the welcome of Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, after she renounced her throne in favor of Venice; followed by rowing races of local champions.

Festa della Madonna della Salute

November 21. City leaders prayed for deliverance from the plague in 1630-31, promising to build a church in the honor of the Virgin Mary. Venetians visit the Salute church on Dorsoduro on the feast day to worship and give thanks, crossing the Grand Canal using a temporary floating bridge.


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