The Best Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Venice
Looking to live la dolce vita for your next birthday?
Why spend your birthday on one mass of land when you can celebrate on more than 100 small islands situated in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea? We are of course talking about unique Venice, the floating city that’s blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful architecture. Here’s our guide on how to spend your birthday in Venice and live la dolce vita, covering everything from scenic bars and restaurants to authentic glass-blowing. Check out Plum Guide's best homes in each neighbourhood too, to ensure the celebration is as special as it deserves to be.
Try glass blowing in Murano
What’s better than blowing out candles on your birthday cake in Venice? Blowing your own Venetian glass creation, that's what. The island of Murano is famous for glass-making, where artisans have been practising the craft since the 13th century. Take a tour of a working glass blowing factory and get the chance to create your own masterpiece.
Party in style with the Venice Carnival
If you have the patience to wait (or your birthday coincidentally falls on the same dates), why not celebrate your birthday in Venice at what is undoubtedly the city’s biggest party? You can even pretend it’s all for you – we would. First held in Venice in the 11th century, the carnival has become world-famous for its lavish and extravagant costumes. The Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday.
Discover traditional mask making
Take a trip to one of Venice’s best mask shops and learn how to make your own. Alberto Sarria Masks is a traditional Venetian mask atelier run by a father-daughter duo. The shop stocks handmade carnival masks and marionettes and has mask-masking workshops. Feeling emotional about ageing another year? Don't bring anyone else down – stick a mask over those sobs.
Go all out at Cafe Florian
The oldest cafe in Europe, this iconic landmark is steeped in history and has an enviable clientele list that includes Casanova, Charlie Chaplin and Andy Warhol. It’s hardly a hidden gem or undiscovered, but you can’t go wrong with such an historical institution. Truly an impressive building (we know a good one when we see one, and we're experts), even just sitting a while and taking in the atmosphere of St Marks Square would be birthday treat enough. We would, however, recommend savouring the moment and the milestone in your life with a classic Venetian aperitif. Here's the drinks menu.
Take a speedboat tour
If you’ve always had the urge to make a quick getaway across the ocean like a stylish spy, why truly not push the boat out (sorry, not sorry) for your birthday in Venice. Without a doubt the most glamorous way to get around the city – plus, you’ll be able to see all the sights while avoiding the crowds…and putting your feet up.
Dine at Locanda Cipriani
This restaurant and hotel dates back to the 1930s and is a serene oasis located on the island of Torcello. It’s owned by the Cipriani family, renowned worldwide for Harry’s Bar. Former guests of Locanda Cipriani include the Godfather himself, Al Pacino, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The crown jewel of this establishment? The breathtaking gardens, which you can dine in and walk through. Tuck into fresh seafood and traditional Venetian dishes.
Take in a performance at Teatro La Fenice
The Teatro La Fenice in San Marco is arguably the most famous landmark in the history of Italian theatre (and in the history of opera as a whole.) The theatre also offers tours of the building, should you just want to take a look around. Performances are resuming once the global pandemic has eased.
Admire the art at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum
Spend the day with Picasso, Joan Miró, and Jackson Pollock at American socialite heiress and art collector Peggy Guggenheim’s former home. It's now a gallery on the Grand Canal, housing European and American art. As well as the countless artworks inside the building, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni is a beauty in its own right. With a long low façade made of Istrian stone and rows of lush green trees overlooking the water, you could easily wile away the day here staring out at the ocean.
Discover the impressive Doge’s Palace
Spend the day sauntering around pretending you’re royalty at the infinitely impressive Doge’s Palace, in Venice San Marco. Dating back to 476, the building is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It used to house the Doge’s (essentially a Duke) apartments, the seat of the government and the city’s courtrooms. If that’s not impressive enough, the palace changes colour depending on the time of day thanks to the light (seriously).
Head to Venice Lido
The famous Italian saying ‘La Dolce Far Niente’ literally translates to “sweet doing nothing, sweet idleness”. If this sounds like your life/birthday mantra, firstly we applaud you, secondly, we think you should spend a day chilling at Venice Lido. Venice Lido is a 7-mile long barrier island home to about 20,400 residents and the Venice Film Festival. There’s a more relaxed pace of life and long sandy beaches to enjoy.
Looking for the best place to stay in Venice? Plum Guide is the official selection of the world's best vacation homes. Independent home critics personally vet each home for quality, so your high standards are met every time. Our final piece of advice for your Venice birthday is: book a stay in one of the best vacation homes (you won't regret it).