The countdown has already started. With the inspiring title “Ad Oriente. The amazing journey of Marco Polo”, the 2024 Venice Carnival celebrates one of its greatest travellers. On the 700th anniversary of his death on 8 January 1324, Marco Polo returns to the lagoon as the main protagonist of the traditional festivities in Venice. The theme of travel is about discovery and coming face to face with worlds that were only imagined so far, but also an intimate travel in ourselves. This will be the focus of the 2024 edition of the Venice Carnival. A fantastic journey into the imagination that will look “to the East” in the footsteps of the path that, many years ago, the Venetian merchant chose to embark on to discover new wonders. But also an educational voyage across borders and cultures, unthinkable at the time, which changed the destiny of the young ambassador of Venice, and the world as it was known in the 14th Century.
From January 27 to February 13 2024, the city of Venice will become the map of this fantastic journey, which will guide guests through the streets and squares, animated by shows, music and art, for a Carnival that will cover the entire territory, from the islands to the mainland. Together, we will retrace Marco Polo’s extraordinary adventure and explore the creativity of the Venice Carnival, which is full of imaginary worlds, fantasies, and desires that each of us dreams of in our inner journeys.
“Venice is celebrating one of its most significant figures, one of the greatest representatives of the international dimension of the city. A man who made one of the most compelling journeys in history, between Europe and the East, which was destined to leave a lasting mark on the relationships between peoples,” said the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, “The City Council has, therefore, decided to dedicate a year of celebrations to Marco Polo, confirming his role in the history of Venice and its diplomatic and commercial relations with the Est. These celebrations allow us to highlight the cultural, social, commercial, and diplomatic central role of the city of Venice over the centuries. The Carnival will be an opportunity to discover the adventure of the young Venetian Marco, which weaves between reality and fantasy to create a fascinating narrative that makes us dream to this day”.
The spotlight will be on the Carnival Street Show featuring the very best international artists performing music, circus-theatre and the art of clownerie. The traditional appointments with The Most Beautiful Mask and the selection of the Twelve Marys will be staged. At the same time, at Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, the official Carnival Dinner Show will return under the name of “At the Court of the Great Khan”, which is once again created by the fashion designer Antonia Sautter. The 2024 Carnival will also feature masked floats throughout the territory of the city, from the islands of the lagoon to the mainland.
The Arsenale confirms its prominent role as an extraordinary and exciting water show destination. “Terra Incognita” (Unknown Land) is the performance that will magically flood the waters of Darsena Grande on Marco Polo’s trail.
But art and theatre will also return to celebrate the Carnival with a programme in the cultural sites of the city in collaboration with the Biennale and many other venues and activities in Venice.
The 2024 edition of the Venice Carnival bears the signature of Massimo Checchetto, artistic director and set designer of the La Fenice Opera House, transforming the city into a land where the civilisations and cultures visited by Marco Polo will take shape.
“Marco Polo,” said Artistic Director Massimo Checchetto, “is a hero of his time who had the amazing opportunity to meet incredible people and civilisations, something very few people could do at that time. He visited to unknown territories travelling by land and returning to Venice by sea, acquiring a wealth of knowledge while facing dangers and adversity. Ad Oriente evokes this very exploration of all that was beyond, to the East of Venice, beyond the lands known up to that moment”.
Carnevale di Venezia 2024 is in partnership with Camera di Commercio Venezia Rovigo, Consorzio di tutela della DOC Prosecco, American Express.
Institutional Partners: Venezia Unica, Avm Holding, MUVE, Casinò di Venezia, Fondazione Teatro La Fenice, M9.