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The Venice Carnival 2024 will be dedicated to Marco Polo

Vita gazette – The 2024 Venice Carnival will be dedicated to Marco Polo for the 700th anniversary of his death. The 2024 edition of the Venice Carnival will be entitled “Ad Oriente”.

“Towards the East…Marco Polo’s magnificent journey”. Marco Polo returns to the lagoon as the hero of the Venice Carnival. The 2024 edition of the Venice Carnival, from 27 January to 13 February, will be entirely dedicated to celebrating one of the most extraordinary sons of the lagoon city: Marco Polo, who died on 8 January 700 years ago, in 1324, ambassador, writer, traveller and merchant, represented the multicultural and open-to-the-world spirit of the Serenissima, told in a book of memoirs halfway between a travel report and fable: The Million.

From Venice to Xanadu and back, together with his father Niccolò and uncle Matteo, Marco travels along what we today call the Silk Road. Then, he spent almost twenty years at the sumptuous court of Kublai Khan as an official and envoy of the emperor, giving us an insight into the world that leads to myth.

Everything is ready for a carnival worthy of the legendary life and discoveries of Marco Polo, one of Venice’s extraordinary, courageous and adventurous sons.

The carnival, a “homage” to Polo, promises its visitors the discovery of fantastic and unknown worlds. In other words, curiosity, research, ambition and the ability to learn… In other words, the character and history of the Serenissima, mixed with geography, science and commerce…

On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of his death, this exhibition will include the theme of travel, discovery and encounters with worlds previously only dreamed of, as well as travel understood as self-search and self-discovery in a different way from where you are. Left.

The fantastic journey of Marco Polo

A path towards the imagination that will turn its gaze “Eastward” on the traces of the routes that the then-young Marco undertook to discover new wonders. An educational experience across borders and cultures, unthinkable then, changed Marco’s destiny, the young ambassador of Venice and the then-known world.

The entire Municipality of Venice, from 27 January to 13 February, therefore, becomes the map of this fantastic journey, which will lead guests through the streets and fields, the streets and squares animated by shows, music and art, for a Carnival spread throughout the city territory, from the islands to the mainland. Together, we will retrace Marco Polo’s adventure.

The 2024 edition of the Venice Carnival, which once again sees the signature of the artistic director and set designer of the Teatro La Fenice, Massimo Checchetto, will therefore transform the city into a fantastic land where the civilisations and cultures encountered by Polo will take shape in the inspiration of the Carnival.

It will be a Carnival born in the name of research, mystery and dreams to discover fantastic worlds, mythical animals and new civilisations which, through a rich program of events and shows, want to transport us on an anxious and adventurous departure towards the unknown.

Sunday, 28 January: the water procession of traditional boats, created in collaboration with the Coordination of Rowing Associations of Voga alla Veneta and led by the legendary “Pantegana”, will officially open the celebrations of the 2024 edition of the Carnival.

Decorated boats and rowers in costume will travel along the Grand Canal from Punta della Dogana towards Rialto and then meet under the arches of the market in Erbaria to give life to a colourful celebration. At the same time, from 11 am, the traditional Venetian food and wine tours offered by AEPE – Association of Public Business Owners of Venice return to Rio di Cannaregio.

The first taste of the 2024 Carnival in Mestre, Saturday 27 and Sunday, 28 January, will instead be the preview of the Carnival Street Show, which will liven up the Teatrino in Piazza Ferretto. A schedule will resume the following weekend and the week before Easter. In Piazza San Marco in Venice and Piazza Ferretto in Mestre, two twin theatres will be set up, in oriental style, to welcome all the masks who want to participate in the traditional Competition for the Most Beautiful Mask. Moments of entertainment, music, and various art forms will also alternate on the stages.

The Venice Carnival proposes a schedule with widespread shows capable of involving Venice, Mestre, the islands of the lagoon and the Municipality. Colourful theatres will be positioned in the fields and streets. They will provide the backdrop for performances by mimes, clowns, actors, musicians, stilt walkers, magicians and storytellers capable of involving a vast audience of children and adults who will be transported into the world of art of the street, comedy, fantastic stories, games and music. A mix of joy, music, choreography and energy, which flows until it involves the most crucial element of each performance: the audience of any age. There are 200 artists with the best companies in the international panorama of widespread art.

“Venice Carnival Street Show” will begin with a preview during the weekends of Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th January and then come alive on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th February, and on the days of the fat week from Thursday 8th February to Tuesday 13th February.

Il Milione: Narrated fantastic

The Arsenale confirms itself as the protagonist of an extraordinary and exciting show on the water. “Unknown land. Marco’s Amazing Journey” is the show that will fill the body of water of the Darsena Grande at the Arsenale with magic for about thirty minutes of the show, with a title that uses the cartographic term to indicate the parts of the globe never explored, which has come into use in cartography since 1500. An imaginative story that emerges from the waters of the Arsenale, freely inspired by Il Milione and narrated especially through the different creative languages ​​of art, which, like Marco’s journey, knows no boundaries.

At the court of the Great Khan: an evening of entertainment from the Arabian Nights

The official Carnival Dinner Show & Ball at Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, designed by stylist Antonia Sautter, will be held on Saturday, three and Sunday, 4 February and from 8 to 13 February. In Xanadu, a paradisiacal city of gold, guests will be immersed in the exotic and sensual atmosphere of the Court of the Great Khan, the intoxicating scents of spices, the precious silks, the refined dishes of the most refined chefs, the many people, the musicians, the necromancers and jugglers, all magnificently welcomed in the presence of the Great Khan for an evening of Arabian Nights fun. Among sumptuous silk and brocade dresses, exotic and mysterious arts, and flavours of distant worlds, dignitaries, ambassadors, and merchants of all nationalities will meet in the magnificent rooms overlooking the Grand Canal to enjoy the view of the East.

The 12 Marys

Saturday 3 February will see the presentation to the public of the 12 Maries of the 2024 Carnival. After the selection on 28 January, in which competitors aged between 18 and 28 and coming from the Metropolitan City of Venice will participate, the 12 Maries will parade dressed in costumes historians aboard gondolas along the Grand Canal to reach Piazza San Marco, where they will be welcomed and presented to the public. A collaboration that involves the organization of the Venice Carnival with the newspaper Il Gazzettino and the patron Maria Grazia Bortolato in the footsteps of Bruno Tosi. Subsequently, after an intense program of events and socio-cultural activities, on Shrove Monday, in the Sale Apollinee of the Teatro La Fenice, the winners of the competition will be announced: the Maria of the Year and the Maria of Il Gazzettino, the latter selected by the newspaper’s readers. Tuesday, 13 February, the traditional presentation of the victorious Mary in Piazza San Marco.

 The Sifilade of allegorical floats

The 2024 edition of the Carnival also sees the grand return of the parades of masked allegorical floats throughout the city, from the islands of the lagoon (Pellestrina 8/2, Lido 9/2 and Burano 10,11 and 13/2) to the mainland (Dese 28/1, Chirignago 4/2, Marghera 10/2, Campalto 11/2, Mestre 12/2 and Zelarino 13/2). Dozens of allegorical floats with hundreds of participants, groups of Carnival enthusiasts from all over the municipal area and the Metropolitan City, musical bands, majorettes and flag-wavers will be welcomed by the public with confetti and music to give life to amazing shows in the footsteps of Venetian hero and the discovery of the Silk Road.

Tickets are available at


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