While Venice hosts boating events year-round, the warm days of May kick-start the boat racing season. The best-known of these races is the Vogalonga, a rowing competition that accepts competitors from around the world.
For information about the festivals and events that happen each May in Venice, read below. Note that May 1, Labor Day, is a national holiday, so many businesses, including museums and restaurants, will be closed. Many Italian and European tourists take advantage of the holiday to visit Venice making popular tourist sights especially crowded on May 1. May is also generally considered high season for Venice hotels.
May 1 - Labor Day and the Festa della Sparesca. Primo Maggio is a national holiday in Italy, so many Venetians head out of town for a long weekend. Those who stay in town get to witness the Festa della Sparesca, a gondolier regatta held at Cavillino in the lagoon.
Mid May - Festa della Sensa. The Festa della Sensa, the ceremony which commemorates Venice's marriage to the sea, takes place on the first Sunday after Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). It also includes a huge fair.
Late May - Vogalonga. The Volalonga, held the weekend following the Sensa festival, is an exciting 32 kilometer rowing race with up to 3000 participants. The course runs from San Marco Basin to the island of Burano and returns through the Grand Canal to finish at the Punta della Dogana.
Continue Reading: Venice in June