In the ten days leading up to Martedi Grasso (Shrove Tuesday) the narrow canals and winding streets of Venice swell with masqued party-goers, clad in feathers, sequins, lace and veils; they move from party to party in black and gold gondolas.
For the 2013 series of balls, Festicket has secured tickets on Friday February 8th to the exclusive Decadenza event at Teatro San Gallo: attracting the young and beautiful with its mix of house music and live instrumentals, but still with extravagant Carnevale costume, Decadenza's night of excess is reflected in its sponsorship by Cointreau.
Saturday night brings the hedonistic Cavalchina Night Bal in the il Gran Teatro La Fenice; the party starts at 11.30pm and continues to the morning, with an open bar fuelling the revelry. Start choosing your masques and collecting your costumes for the most extravagant night of the year in La Serenissima ...
Ravishing costumes, dastardly performers, live instrumentals and the finest drinks fill the luxurious interior of the Teatro San Gallo.
CALVACHINA NIGHT BAL
All-out hedonism reigns behind the pilastered walls and powdered wigs. Let yourself go: protected by masques, revelers feel total freedom.
Decadenza is hosted in Teatro San Gallo, a few metres from Piazza San Marco, on the Campo San Gallo. The grand interior, with venetian columns and red velvet drapes, is fitted with a high quality sound system.
Calvachina Night Bal is hosted in Il Gran Teatro La Fenice, one of the most famous Opera Houses in Europe, with a distinguished history including premieres of two of Bellini's most celebrated operas. La Fenice burned down twice in its history, being most recently reconstructed to its grand 19th century designs in 2001, to a cost of €90 million.
Festicket's drink of choice: the classic Venetian Spritz. A mix of white wine, sparkling mineral water, and an aperitif such as Campari, Cynar, or Aperol (our favourite). Try the bars on Campo San Margherita for somewhere less crowded than those around Rialto bridge.
Take some time out from the Carnevale to see some of the tourist attractions. Of course, it is enough just to wander around the streets - but we also love the flooded crypt of San Zaccaria.
Get the watertaxi to San Giorgio Maggiore and look back at the amazing view of San Marco and the Gran Canal. The Church of San Giorgio, designed by Palladio, could only have a frontage built of marble - if the entire church was faced with marble, it would sink into the lagoon.
It might look picturesque, but its probably best not to bathe in the water. That blue green colour isn't entirely natural...
Keep an eye out for 'acqua alta' high water - several times a year, particularly in Winter and Spring, the water level rises so much that streets, and even San Marco, flood.
Most budget flights fly to Treviso Airport on the mainland, 16 miles from Venice; a shuttle bus runs into Venice costing €13 return.
Yes, both the Decadenza and Calvachina Night Bal event tickets include an open bar for a specific selection of drinks. Other drinks can be purchased at extra cost.
Alcohol can not be brought into the venues.
Venice is easily walkable, both in terms of size, and with there being no traffic. Waterbus services are the most practical way of travelling longer distances - with single journey costing €7, travel passes are the most economic option for longer stays.