Visitors may be surprised by how quiet Venice is at night. There is plenty to see in the city, and the traveller’s days are filled with sights, museums and excursions. But entertainment, particularly things to do in the evening, is thinner on the ground. It may be enough to take an evening gondola ride or wander hand-in-hand with your loved one. But if you’re looking for something more loud or lively, here are some of our suggestions.
> Annual events and festivals
La Fenice Opera House
La Fenice, which (in)famously burned down some years ago, has been rebuilt just as it was, all shiny gilding and pastel decor. It’s a fantastically atmospheric and exquisite place to an enjoy an opera, classical concert or one of their occasional dance events. Tickets can be booked online – for busy times of year (like Carnival) and popular events, be sure to book well in advance, especially if you want one of the more affordable seats (the top levels are the least expensive). Note that some of the cheaper seats in the rear row of shared boxes have little or no view of the stage.
Venice’s other theatres, mostly sharing the programme of La Fenice or putting on drama in Italian, are probably of less interest to the foreign visitor, though it’s worth checking their listings. Teatro Fondamenta Nuove is an avant-garde venue which hosts occasional drama, dance and musical events. It’s one of the few contemporary music venues in Venice.
There are a range of concerts put on for tourist audiences in historic buildings and churches around Venice. The quality of the music may be variable, the seats may be uncomfortable, and there probably won’t be an interval or refreshments. But often these make appealing entertainment for the visitor. Tickets, which aren’t cheap, can generally be bought from the venues before shows, or from a very useful music shop near the Rialto on Salizzada del Fontego dei Tedeschi, where you can also find more information on concerts. Look out for posters for more choices. Here is a selection:
Musica a Palazzo
Every night of the week a concert is performed in the Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto on the Grand Canal. The small audience moves from room to room with the musicians, feeling almost like guests in the building’s elegant heyday. Shows alternate, and visitors can see Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Traviata or a programme of love duets from operas. We’ve been to a performance and can recommend it.
Musica in Maschera
A range of events are held at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. For variety, there is an Opera Balletto programme, performed once or twice a week. These concerts promise musicians (and a dancer) performing in masks and eighteenth-century costumes. The programme consists of popular highlights of opera and classical music, from Swan Lake to La Traviata. On other nights there is an opera season, also performed in costume, which includes operas like La Traviata, La Bohème and Tosca. The nearest vaporetto stop is San Toma.
Orchestra Opera di Venezia
Once or twice a week this company puts on an opera in the Scuola Grande dei Carmini at Campo Santa Margherita in Dorsoduro. As well as seeing a semi-staged opera like Così Fan Tutte or Il Barbiere di Siviglia performed in costume, the audience is treated to a guided tour in English of the Tiepolo museum in the building.
There are quite often free events and performances around Venice, and it’s worth looking out for posters advertising these. Some shows are put on as part of local festivals, while visiting choirs and orchestras frequently perform in Venetian churches. You can find more tips for a cheap holiday on our free things to do page.
On this site
Useful external links