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10 Things to Do in Venice in February

February is the month of Carnival in Venice, but I warn you that there is much more waiting for you in this city. Do you dare to discover it with me?

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Venice in February

Carnival | ©Andrea Piacquadio

If you are planning what to see and do on your trip to Venice in February you have surely noticed that there are many plans and events related to the Carnival, which is not surprising considering that it is one of the most important in the world. However, during this month there are many other activities that await you in Venice, such as romantic gondola rides to celebrate Valentine's Day or craft workshops that will bring out your creative and cultural side.

February is a month that has weeks with more tourist influx than others, so you will have to take this into account when you start booking and planning your trip to Venice. To that end, I have compiled for you some plans that you should include in your agenda.

1. Fall in love with Venice on a Valentine's Day Gondola Ride

Gondolas set for Valentine's Day| ©Stefania Gualandi
Gondolas set for Valentine's Day| ©Stefania Gualandi

Every February 14th the whole world is filled with love for Valentine's Day, but Venice certainly does it even more. A perfect plan to celebrate this day is a gondola ride with serenade. The gondoliers are always encouraged to sing, but on Valentine's Day it is even more common that the canals are filled with their voices singing some romantic song.

I recommend you to organize a romantic plan that includes an idyllic gondola ride. This way you will not only enjoy an unmissable experience that will take you through places and under iconic bridges of the city, but you will do it on a special day. Of course, book the gondola in advance and also consider if you want to extend the experience with dinner.

Book a gondola ride with serenade

2. Celebrate Carnival with a self-made mask

Carnival Masks| ©Pascal Riben
Carnival Masks| ©Pascal Riben

On your trip to Venice in February there is something that you will not carry in your suitcase but that you cannot miss in your daily life in the Italian city: a Carnival mask. During the second month of the year, when this festival takes place, it is normal to come across masked and costumed people that will make you feel like in a period film. Why not get into that same atmosphere? To do so, not only do I propose you to enjoy the many carnival events, but I encourage you to create your own mask.

The art of mask making is highly appreciated in Venice, so learning from a Master Artisan is a privilege. In a one-hour workshop you will learn all the secrets about this craft and the history of Venice's most traditional accessory. In addition to a lot of knowledge, you will leave this class with a nice souvenir to wear on the streets of Venice during the Carnival.

Isn't it a great plan? If you travel with children to Venice, it's even more so, as they will enjoy decorating, painting and bringing their masks to life as much as you will.

Book a Carnival Mask Making Workshop

3. Watch the Flight of the Angel over St. Mark's Square

St. Mark's Square| ©Toa Herftiba
St. Mark's Square| ©Toa Herftiba

The Flight of the Angel is not only one of the first events of the Venice Carnival, which takes place in February, but it has a symbolism and history behind it that is worth knowing. When you join many other tourists and Venetians in Piazza San Marco to admire the descent of the angel, you will be surprised to see that even TV cameras are recording the spectacle.

The tradition behind the Flight of the Angel

That angel coming down to St. Mark's Square from the heavens is none other than the "Maria" of the previous year. Don't you know this legend? Years ago the Doge of Venice would gather twelve of the poorest and prettiest maidens of the city to endow them with jewels, money and dresses. Today, this tradition is still maintained but it is like a great beauty contest. Thus, the most attractive woman is crowned as that year's Maria and, in the following Carnival, has the honor of being the angel that flies over the Piazza.

Beyond the angel's leap, on that day Venice is once again filled with medieval dances and music, alluding to the origin of the tradition. It is a very special thing to experience, as music plays a very important role in Venetian culture.

Book a tour of St. Mark's Square

4. Visit the Venetian museums in the off-peak season

Accademia Gallery| ©Didier Descouens
Accademia Gallery| ©Didier Descouens

Although Carnival brings a lot of tourism to Venice for a couple of weeks in February, the rest of the month is quite quiet and the atmosphere of the city is more relaxed, without so many crowds. My recommendation is that you take advantage of this time to visit museums, which are also a warm refuge for those days of your trip when the Venetian rain gives no respite.

Venice could be considered a city of museums, since among its galleries and historic buildings are some of the most recognized pieces of art in history.

Renaissance art in Venice

The artistic period of the Renaissance, with names of such famous painters as Titian, plays a big role in Venetian museums, so don't hesitate to visit the Galleria dell'Accademia, where you will find many paintings by this painter and his contemporaries.

A journey through the history of Venice

If you want to learn about the history of the city through centuries-old objects, don't forget the Correr Museum, which also houses the Archaeological Museum.

A museum for modern artists

In case you are an admirer of the most contemporary art, don't let the Venetian buildings fool you, inside one of them is the International Gallery of Modern Art, with magnificent collections of Picasso or Kandisnky.

Discover the ingenuity of Leonardo da Vinci

If you want to complete a cultural day in Venice you cannot miss the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. Throughout its various rooms you can learn about the legacy of this painter, sculptor, inventor and scientist, among other professions. Discover from flying machines to the design of his "Ideal City" through his anatomical sketches.

Book tickets for the da Vinci Museum

5. Celebrate World Pizza Day in Venice

Slice of Pizza| ©Krisp Cut
Slice of Pizza| ©Krisp Cut

I'm sure that, like me, when you think of any Italian city, pizza comes to mind. Well, I am pleased to inform you that if you are in Venice on February 9 you will have even more reasons to eat it, because on that date is celebrated the World Pizza Day. This day commemorates that UNESCO considered this food as a World Heritage Site in 2017, so take this occasion to honor the social and culinary role of pizza in its birthplace, Italy.

Although it is true that in Venice food can be expensive, pizzas in particular are usually very good value and, as expected, they are very tasty. Still, I know it's hard to find good restaurants with so much on offer, so I have not hesitated to list my favorite restaurants in Venice. celebrating Pizza Day doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be tasty.

Book a gastronomic tour of Venice

6. Escape to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello

Burano Island| © Yiwen
Burano Island| © Yiwen

If you are one of those who are overwhelmed by the crowds, Venice in February is very interesting to visit but you also have to take into account that it has a large influx of tourists attracted precisely by the famous Carnival. If you feel like escaping from the hustle and bustle for a day, I recommend you to take one of the excursions to the beautiful islands of Murano and Burano.

You will reach them by boat and you will find there a special charm with its colorful houses around the canal, besides being able to see the oldest cathedral in Venice, which is located in Torcello, another small island 5 minutes by vaporetto from Burano.

But you can not leave the picturesque islands without knowing the glass blowing factory in Murano. This is a very ancient practice of the area that you will learn thanks to the guided tour included in this type of excursions.

Book your excursion to Murano, Burano and Torcello

7. Experience the opening of the Venice Carnival

Carnival in Venice| ©Enrico Strocchi
Carnival in Venice| ©Enrico Strocchi

If you are going to Venice in February, you will have the immense luck to experience the Carnival. This event starts in mid-February and lasts until the end of the month, covering the city with color, masks, music and lots of costumes. Yes, just as you have always imagined the Venetian Carnival. One of the most important moments of this festivity is undoubtedly its inauguration with the one known as La Festa Veneziana sull'acqua.

The Venetian Water Festival marks the beginning of the Carnival and it does it as tradition has been doing for centuries. Floats parade along the canals and all the Venetians take to the streets to celebrate the start of masks, period costumes and carnival merriment.

My recommendation? Go to the Cannaregio canal, where you can best see the parade, and do it in good time, because there are usually crowds.

8. Choose your favorite costume during the Masquerade Parade

Venice Masquerade Parade| ©Sergey Galyonkin
Venice Masquerade Parade| ©Sergey Galyonkin

Will you be able to choose the most beautiful mask? Because that's what the Most Beautiful Mask Contest is all about. This event takes place during the Venice Carnival in February and ends on the last day, so you can go to Piazza San Marco during your trip to Venice and, every evening, see the people and groups that participate. You will be surprised by many of the costumes, as they are often authentic period costumes of incalculable value.

Participation is open to all the public, so you too can present your proposal on the large catwalk that is set up in the Piazza as long as you fill out the registration form. Or if you prefer, you can cast your vote and take part in the final decision. But be sure to take your place on the last day of the Carnival to find out which costumes and masks are the winners.

9. Escape the cold of Venice with a cup of the best hot chocolate.

Sipping Chocolate in Venchi| ©Niccolò
Sipping Chocolate in Venchi| ©Niccolò

I won't kid you, February is a bit chilly in Venice. Temperatures hover around 6 degrees, so there may be times during your visit when all you feel like doing is sitting in a typical Italian café and warming up with a hot chocolate. Well, you're in luck because Venice is home to high-quality chocolate. And don't think that there is only one type, because there are many varieties of hot chocolate that you can order and taste.

If you've got the sweet tooth and the craving for something hot during your walk around Venice, don't worry because there are plenty of chocolate shops around you, especially if you are in St. Mark's Square.

If I may give you one last tip, now that we are talking about sweets, you have to try the traditional Venetian cookies with your hot chocolate. They are made from flour and butter and flavored with vanilla. I'm sure you've seen them before: they are "S" shaped and addictive.

10. Take some great photos of Venice covered in fog

Foggy Venice| ©Dimitris Kamaras
Foggy Venice| ©Dimitris Kamaras

Do you like taking pictures? Then remember to take your camera well charged and with space in your memory, because in Venice you will take a lot of pictures. Its historic center full of monuments, its canals crossed by beautiful bridges and its intricate streets are certainly sceneries that deserve a photo, but if there is something that makes them even more magical is the fog. February can be a rather cold month in Venice (highs of 4°), but if there is one positive thing to take away from it, it is that all the surfaces of the city are covered in a blanket of fog that gives them a special look and light.

The Venetians call this fog "caigò" and on the coldest days of winter it delicately covers the surfaces of the lagoons and the large squares of Venice. This misty blanket gives a different nuance to the city and, if you have a good eye, you are sure to be able to capture it with your camera.

Venice temperatures in February

St. Mark's Square, Venice| ©Brando
St. Mark's Square, Venice| ©Brando

The Venetian winter is harsh and its minimum temperatures can go as low as 0º, with its maximums rising only to 9º. Beyond the number on the thermometer, Venice is a cold city that can be difficult to visit when the icy wind blows through its streets.

To avoid being caught by surprise, remember to bring warm clothes and thermal T-shirts, as well as a raincoat, as it can rain a lot and umbrellas, with the wind, are useless.

The number of tourists in Venice during the month of February

Gondolas at night| ©Sergey Galyonkin
Gondolas at night| ©Sergey Galyonkin

Although tourism in Venice decreases in winter, February is the month in which Carnival is celebrated, so many visitors travel to the city of the gondolas to celebrate it with masks, costumes and dances. This certainly makes the prices of accommodation and flights go up, so I recommend you book your trip in advance.

Outside the days of Carnival or Valentine's Day, February can be a quiet month with little tourism, so it is a good time to enjoy the city and its museums with fewer people.

Venice is waiting for you in February with plans full of Carnival, love and culture, how many are you going to sign up for? I can't wait to hear about them when you get back.

Book a guided tour of Venice