The world’s oldest, and perhaps most glamorous, film festival – the Venice Film Festival – takes place 29 August to 9 September 2017 on the picturesque Italian island Lido, set with the lagoon on one side and the waters of the Adriatic on the other.
Each year the Venice Film Festival draws a host of celebrities and superyachts to the floating city where it’s a mix of private parties, public screenings and a heavy dose of classic Italian culture.
Cindy Crawford, Randy Gerber and George Clooney arrive for the premiere of the film The Ides of March at the 68th Venice Film Festival, photo by Site Marca
Organised by La Biennale di Venezia, the festival brings a notable style to Venice where the streets and famous canals are filled with the stars of critically acclaimed blockbusters and smaller art productions.
Each of the films screened throughout the festival is competing for the Golden Lion for Best Film, which is awarded by an international jury. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening will preside over the main jury, the first woman since 2006 to head the panel.
In 2016, the highly prized accolade was conferred upon Lav Diaz for his film ‘The Woman Who Left’.
Public attendees can purchase passes in advance to the screenings. This year the festival will screen more than 275 projects, 75 of which will be national and international premieres.
Photo Engel & Volkers
View a list of all films selected for the 74th Venice Film Festival.
Although the festival isn’t promoted quite as grandly as other, more well-known, film festivals, it is one of Europe’s best locations for indulging in film and culture, with the added ambiance of Italy’s history, food scene and romantic charm.
One of the most romantic cities in the world, Venice is unrivalled in its beauty. The sensory overload of colourful scenery and ancient landscapes is dotted by more than 400 beautiful bridges linking the stunning isles of Venice and more than 150 canals.
The iconic Rialto Bridge striding across the gondolier-dotted canals. Photo by Shaun Dumnall
The Festival is centred upon the Gritti Palace, which dates back to 1475 when the Doge (chief magistrate) of Venice, Andrea Gritti, commissioned it. The palace was converted into a hotel at the beginning gof the 19th century.
The Gritti Palace – photo by Axby
Venice has hosted the Regatta Storica, the historic ceremonial pageant and gondola race down the Grand Canal, since 1315. This year’s regatta is scheduled for Sunday 3 September.
The best known and most exciting of these is the "Campioni su Gondolini" race, which pits the smaller gondolas racing to a finish line at the famous "machina", the floating stage located in front of the Ca' Foscari palace.
A spectacular water pageant precedes the race where scores of typically 16th century-style boats with gondoliers in period costume carry the Doge, the Doge's wife and all the highest-ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal in a brightly coloured parade.
The pinnacle of elegance, the Hotel Cipriani, is located on the island of Giudecca, and one of the more notable locations in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Home of Harry’s Bar, which opened in 1931 and is home of the famous Italian cocktail the Bellini, a mixture of prosecco and peach puree. Browse the guest book, used since the bar’s opening.
For an unparalleled view of the festival’s arrivals to the Palazzo del Cinema, book into the Lion’s Bar, on the terrace overlooking the red carpet.
Photo Harry’s Bar by Felix Haslimeier