How to get the best out of the Venice International Film Festival


Our complete guide for all the film-lovers on a budget out there

With the new edition of the Venice International Film Festival looming on the horizon, we thought it would be a good idea to put together an up-to-date guide for 2019. Below not only will you find all there is to know about this year's dates, line-up, categories and prices, but we also give you the low-down on where to eat and sleep, as well as the best things to do on the island if you're planning to attend this year.

For film-lovers on a budget who think an event like this is too glam for them, trust us, it's not exclusive to Hollywood stars. We can show you how it's more than possible to have an amazing experience, for an even better price!

All you need to know about the Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival 2019

Organised by the Biennale, the 2019 Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world, and therefore one of the most prestigious, which presents a selection of world-class films every year. Bringing some of the most successful directors and actors of our time to the red carpet at Lido di Venezia, the traditions of glamour, sophistication and charm have been maintained throughout the years, universally known for being a fascinating, enchanting occasion. The festival takes place in order to raise awareness for and to promote international cinema, both as an industry of art and entertainment, as well as of creativity and freedom of expression.

  • Where: The films will be screened in multiple different venues of the Lido di Venezia. The traditional venues include the Sala Grande, Sala Volpi, Palabiennale, Sala Perla, Sala Casinò, Sala Darsena, Sala Giardino and Pasinetti.
  • When: The event will take place from August 28th to September 7th 2019.
Marriage Story Film Festival 2019

The festival is primarily focused on the Venezia 76 competition, which every year is comprised of around 20 feature-length films that present as world premieres. This year, the lineup includes titles such as Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, as well as Soderbergh's The Laudromat, starring Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman.

This competition will open with the world premiere of Hirokazu Kore-eda's new film La vérité (The Truth), starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke and will close with Giuseppe Capotondi's The Burnt Orange Heresy, starring Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Donald Sutherland and Mick Jagger. Favourites to win this year include Ad Astra featuring Brad Pitt, and Joker featuring Todd Phillips. Other famous names set to appear on the red carpet include Penélope Cruz, Tommy Lee Jones, Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Antonio Banderas.

Wasp Network Film Festival 2019

But how much does it cost?

Let's start with a very good news: the public is admitted in the Sala Perla, Volpi, Casinò and Pasinetti upon presentation of free coupons (available at ticket offices in Lido and Venice starting from the day before screening, subject to seating availability). However, if you want to treat yourself to a even fancier location, tickets go from a maximum of 30.00€ for the 10:00pm screenings in the breathtaking Sala Grande to only 5.00€ for all-day screenings in the Sala Giardino... see? We're pretty sure it's even cheaper that what you have thought! To read more about Subscriptions (multiple screening tickets), Concessions (under 26 & over 60), as well as other discounts and offers, please visit the Biennale official website.

And if the above information has convinced you to come and experience it all for yourself, here is some essential information to guarantee your stay goes smoothly...

Getting there

  • From Venice Marco Polo Airport: take the Alilaguna rossa line (stops at Lido S.Maria Elisabetta)
  • From Station / Piazzale Roma / Piazza San Marco: take the ACTV Vaporetto line routes 1 / 5.1 / 5.2 / 6
  • Or if you want to push the boat out (literally), you can take a water taxi and whizz over to the Lido Hollywood style!

Where to stay?

There are many accommodation options in Lido, Venice mainland and the other surrounding areas for you to choose from. At the glamorous Hotel Excelsior, located just opposite the Palazzo del Cinema where all the aciton takes place, you'll likely find movie stars drifting in and out of the doors. However, for those who are on a slightly stricter budget, take a look at our suggestions below for a practical and low-cost stay:

- Tra Mare e Laguna BnB - a small family-run business offering cheap prices and a great range of services. Located in a very central location in Lido itself, it's perfect if you want to be in the centre of all the activity. It is also easy to reach Venice mainland if you decide you want to do some sightseeing.

- Sunny Terrace Hostel Giudecca - located on the island of Giudecca, this hostel offers a peaceful stay, away from the bustle of Venice mainland and Lido, but easy to reach both. Providing a beautiful open-air terrace and games room, it's a great place to stay if you like your chill time every now and again.

- Hotel La Pergola - located on Lido island, Hotel La Pergola is a great compromise if you're looking for luxury at a lower price. Offering the services of a 4-star hotel, boasting its own garden and terrace, it's in a prime location from where you can easily reach all the different screening locations on the island.

- Generator Venice - alternatively, if you're looking for somewhere on Venice mainland instead, perhaps sightseeing is more important than the Film Festival if you're travelling here for the first time, then we suggest Generator Hostel. One of the best hostels in Venice, centrally located, great atmosphere and very easy to get to the Lido.

If none of these are tempting, have a browse over all of our low-cost accommodation in Venice and pick the one that's right for you!

Where to eat?

There are hundreds of restaurants, bars and food stalls all over the Venice region, so we can confidently say that wherever you end up, you'll be guaranteed a great meal! However, if you do want to be prepared, here are some of our suggestions for the best places in Lido:

- Aperitivo at Blue Drop Venice - newly opened in 2018, this lounge / cocktail bar serves great cocktails with an incredible view looking out over to Venice. Enjoy a spritz with some nibbles while watching a breathtaking sunset over the water.

- Seafood at Da Cri Cri e Tendina - a favourite among the locals, this rustic tavern serves fresh fish specialties and local wines in a central location. Considering the quality of the food, the prices here are more than reasonable!

- Pizza at Parco delle Rose - located on the main street in Lido, this pizzeria has a pretty garden where you can take a break in the shade and grab a bite to eat. Although famous for its pizza, there are also many other things on the menu for you to choose from.

- Burgers at El Pecador - this one deserves a mention as it's loved by the locals, and there is always a queue leading down the road. For something quirky, look for a big red double-decker bus where you'll find two men serving the best burgers in town. Order to go, or why not climb up to the top deck and sit down on the cushions and enjoy the music for an alternative evening!

El Pecador LidoEl Pecador Lido, credits: @sagetraveller

- Gelato at Gelido Lato - last (and perhaps most importantly) is Gelido Lato. In our opinion it serves the best gelato on the island, situated just off the main street in Via Isola di Cerigo. Here you'll find inventive flavours such as walnut and fig or cheesecake, and there are even some vegan options available.

What to do?

If your eyes need a break from all those movies, why not head to the beach for some rest and relaxation between screenings? There's something for everyone at Lido beach, whether you want a luxurious day spent on sun loungers under big umbrellas sipping cocktails, or perhaps want to explore a more natural area such as Alberoni, we can ensure you'll enjoy your time here.

Venice-Lido Beach

If you enjoyed this article and want to know more about what to do and see whilst visiting Venice, take a look at these articles below:

>>> Secret Venice: 11 hidden things to see in the city you can't miss!

>>> Why is it a must to visit Venice at least once?

Plan your stay

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