February 12 – 15, 2009 and June 24 – 25, 2011
I must say Venice during Carnivale is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we were blessed to have been a part of it in 2009! It’s amazing to see so many people in festive costumes and truly high spirits. No one is a stranger that’s for sure! If you ever want to feel like a sardine just show up at Piazza San Marco on opening day of Carnivale…wow!! The bar was definitely set high. NOTE: Carnivale is the Italian equivalent to Mardi Gras.
Our return trip was a 48-hour whirlwind tacked onto a business trip. The weather was glorious – in stark contrast to the February weather! Venice is just as beautiful outside the pageantry of Carnivale; however, in the absence of all the festivities the Piazza San Marco feels much more like an over-priced tourist destination. Even the promenade along the Mediterranean had a “State Fair” feel. Fortunately, we stumbled into an area of Venice that was quiet with small shops and family owned restaurants. We immediately felt like we were immersed in the true Venetian culture. The pace of our walking slowed as we took in all the beauty of the architecture and the meandering canals. A truly breathtaking city!