Carnival of Venice (Carnevale di Venezia); January/February: Celebrated over the fortnight preceding Ash Wednesday, this is the biggest masked ball on the planet. Think feathered eye-masks, sequinned harlequins, mime artists and acrobats.
Festa della Sensa; May: Celebrated on Ascension Day, the Festa della Sensa pays homage to the powerful bond between the city and the sea. For centuries, the Doge sailed from his residence to fling a wedding ring into the water, symbolising his marriage to the sea. Nowadays, the event is celebrated with a huge regatta showcasing the art of rowing.
Festa della Redentore; July: This is a celebration of deliverance from a terrible plague that swept through Venice in 1577. Expect decorated boats, picnics and firework displays across the lagoon.