Usually taking place during the first Sunday of September, the Grand Canal is host to thousands of boats, which are fully kitted out in regalia and driven by crews wearing historic costumes. The regatta brings back to life the regal atmosphere for thousands of tourists from both Italy and abroad, which was once the norm during the reign of the Serenissima Republic.
Festival of the Redeemer
Each year, normally on the third Sunday of July, Venetians celebrate the Festival of the Redeemer, in memory of the end of the devastating plague of 1576. A boat bridge guides Venetians and tourists to the Church of the Redeemer, during which the Giudecca Canal fills with decorated boats and gondolas. In the evening, the historical palaces and buildings in front of the Grand Canal are illuminated and the festivities end with an unforgettable fireworks display over the water.
The Biennale (Biannual)
An international exhibition of art and film (including the Venice Film Festival), which usually takes place every two years between June and October. Works, films and displays by artists and directors from all over the world are presented at an enormous site at the end of the Riva dei 7 Martiri and in the most of the important palaces of the city. The headquarters of the Biennale Association can be found in Ca' Giustinian. Visit their website for more detailed information (http://www.labiennale.org/en/).
This is of course one of Venice's most celebrated events which takes places over a 2-week period every year in February (February 7th 2004 to February 24th 2004). Open-air balls, theatre representations and shows of every kind involve all of Venice, which is invaded by thousands of traditional masks. For the occasion, a special propitiatory rite is celebrated: the Venetians construct a dove full of streamers that, attached to a cable, flies through the Piazza San Marco from the Bell Tower to the Clock Tower. On its arrival it breaks open and from the flight of the streamers the Venetians can predict the fortunes of the upcoming year. Many of the exciting events and activities are free.