Sweet! The Arsenale is for the first time in Carnival history open to the public (
from February 27th till February 4th 2014 30/31th of January and 4th-6th of February 2016), and from what I can tell the program is pretty neat: street artists, fireworks and live music. Not bad at all!
Soooo, Sunday we finally made it to the big Carnaval special in the Arsenale. Well, after some “orientation problems” as the entrance to the spectacle was NOT the main entrance near the Museo Storico Navale (the one with the three lions), but the one near the Vaporetto stop “Celestia”.
A big “thank you” to the organizers for the “clear” comunication where exactly the show will be (I don’t know if you ever had a look at a map of Venice, but the Arsenale is huge!) and yes, an A4 sized sheet of paper at a 20 meters distance from the entrance is not enough when you have to search for the right way starting from the opposite part of the Arsenale. I guess all the money was invested in the fireworks? 😉
Well, in the end we made it to the right entrance with other 20 people on our coat-tails (Spanish, English and Venetians. Yes, the locals too were standing in front of the wrong entrance) and finally saw the fireworks at 21:45.
It would have definitely been easier to take the free vaporetto shuttle from San Zaccharia (called “CA” Carnevale all’Arsenale), but unfortunately the first one only left at 19:30 and we already stood in front of the main gate of the Arsenale at 6.30 pm. Important: The Vaporetto CA will not be free of charge in 2016. You can use it with your tourist travelcard though or buy a return ticket for €5. Find more information and a map with the additional Carnival lines and their schedule on the ACTV website.
My tip: even though the first spectacle is at 7.30 pm, take the free shuttle. It’s way more comfortable and as they repeat the same spectacle at 9.45 pm you won’t miss anything.
Attention: This year (2016) there will be THREE spectacles starting from 7pm! (Check the official website, find the link below.)
Below you find a video of the fireworks that lasted for about 30min and even though certain things could have been organized/done in a better way: The street artists, the shadow theater and the fireworks were worth the trouble. 🙂
Official website: Notti all’Arsenale