Winter In Venice Holiday Celebration At The Venetian & The Palazzo Las Vegas Nov 18-Jan 6

Winter in Venice, the second-annual celebration of the winter holiday season at The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, dubbed “A Gift of The Venetian.” With 50 days of seasonal experiences throughout both resorts, Winter in Venice is the ultimate destination for a holiday getaway, running Nov. 18, 2012 through Jan. 6, 2013.

Winter Displays At The Palazzo

Winter Peacocks
Winter Display At The Palazzo Las Vegas

In 2012, Winter in Venice will feature a new marquee element, an exclusive six-week run of “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Las Vegas, by Chip Davis,” featuring beloved and iconic holiday music in The Palazzo Theatre. In addition, a schedule of memorable Italian-inspired experiences will include a nightly enchanting winter parade, whimsical tree-lighting ceremonies, a stunning new 3D light projection shows, an elaborate Winter In Venice fantasy scene in The Palazzo Waterfall Gardens, and – a fan favorite – the return of the picturesque skating rink above The Venetian’s romantic outdoor Grand Canal.

Holiday Display
Holiday Display

In its first year, Winter in Venice captured the attention – and the hearts – of visitors around the world, including Travel + Leisure magazine. In fact, the prestigious publication touted the Winter In Venice skating rink in its feature on the “world’s coolest skating rinks.” The article, which shared a short list of the magazine’s favorite venues, said: “Some of the coolest [rinks] can be found where you’d least expect them—say, in the desert.

Jordin Sparks On The Red Carpet At 2011 Winter In Venice

Jordin Sparks on The Red Carpet
Jordin Sparks On The Red Carpet At 2011 Winter In Venice

The Venetian [in Las Vegas] debuted a rink in 2011, complete with a holiday-theme light show. It now touts a package deal that combines a skating session with an outdoor gondola ride—only in Vegas, indeed”. “The holidays are such a magical time for everyone and Winter in Venice offers the perfect place to truly enjoy this special time of year,” said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.

Karina Smirnoff and Toy Soldier
Smirnoff and Toy Soldier
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak, IS Photography

The best way to experience Winter in Venice is by staying overnight at The Venetian or The Palazzo, taking advantage of additional experiences available to resort guests. Packages, which combine elements of Winter in Venice, begin at $149 per night.

Overnight guests also receive Passaporto di Winter in Venice, which includes specials for skating, retail, dining, entertainment and spa, with offers valued at more than $1,000. For those who book an upgraded suite, a Premiere Passaporto di Winter in Venice will feature additional exclusive offers increasing the value to more than $1,400.

Those guests staying overnight can expect festive holiday touches including warm apple cider upon arrival and a sincere “Welcome to Winter in Venice” greeting. Strolling carolers and gondoliers singing holiday classics will set the mood as festive music plays throughout the resorts with joyful winter décor inside and out.

A New Storyline
“Winter in Venice finds its inspiration in the folklore and tales that generations of Italians have grown to know and love,” said Caparella. “Those stories have filled the imaginations of generations of Venetians with the experiences of festive holiday seasons coupled with the long-treasured spirit of giving and sharing. Within these tales are the characters that exemplify the good will, the fun and the excitement of the season.”

Throughout the 50-day celebration, guests will encounter these new characters — including the stunning Winter in Venice Queen — in entertaining ways, including the nightly parade, tree-lighting shows, and the new “Light of Venice” 3D light projection show.

Doge’s Palace and Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
The Venetian’s front exterior will be adorned in winter schemes reminiscent of the fabled city of Venice. Thousands of festooned lights will hang over the majestic ice skating rink as larger-than-life snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72-inches in diameter, surround the façade of The Venetian.

Professional Ice Skaters At Winter In Venice

Jordin Sparks and John Caparella Ice Rink Ribbon Cutting

Jordin Sparks on The Ice Rink
Ice Skating Rink

The impressive skating surface is made of environmentally-friendly material playfully called “ven-ICE,” which doesn’t require electricity or refrigeration. The surface is actually not made of ice at all, but a state-of-the-art recycled polymer, part of the resort’s industry-leading green initiatives.

Jordin Sparks and John Caparella Ice Rink Ribbon Cutting

Jordin Sparks and John Caparella Ribbon Cutting
John Caparella and Jordin Sparks Ice Rink Ribbon Cutting
Karina Smirnoff
Karina Smirnoff At Winter In Venice At The Palazzo
Photo credit: Jacob Andrzejczak, IS Photography

On the canal, romance is in the air, as skaters are invited to make figure-eights or glide hand-in-hand with loved ones. Nearby, an awe-inspiring 65-foot LED Christmas tree presides over Doge’s Palace, and guests are entertained by strolling entertainers.

With gondoliers whisking by and strolling winter characters all around, guests can enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily. Throughout the season, special ice skating exhibition performances can also be seen on the rink, including Surya Bonaly, Olympic silver medalist on Nov. 18.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
As a marquee addition to Winter in Venice, Grammy Award®-winning composer/musician Chip Davis will bring his award-winning holiday production, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Las Vegas by Chip Davis,” to The Palazzo Theater for a six week exclusive run beginning Nov. 20.

Recognized as one of the nation’s “Top 20 Concert Tours” by Pollstar in 2011, Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis, with the help of MagicSpace Entertainment, has turned their recognizable holiday music into a headlining show featuring the favorite Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller. Now in their 27th season, Davis is taking his holiday tour to new heights with a brand new Vegas edition of the already spectacular show.

Mannheim Steamroller

The group’s renowned program of signature Christmas classics, along with state-of-the-art multimedia effects, is being expanded specifically for Mannheim’s first-ever run in Las Vegas. Davis and his “technical wizards” have added choreography, aerial and other new elements to create an unforgettable holiday experience

Known for revolutionizing the sounds of the Christmas, Davis has catapulted over the last three decades into becoming the number one Christmas music artist in the world. His combination of classical compositions and rock rhythms has transformed the holiday music season into the celebrated industry it is today.

Since the release of his first Christmas album in 1984, he has continued to combine the group’s signature mix of Renaissance instruments with rock & roll beats.

Ticket prices range from $64 (plus tax) to $124 (plus tax). Tickets are available by calling The Palazzo Box Office at (866) 641-7469 or (702) 414-9000, or online at

Nightly Holiday Parade, Light Show and Tree Lighting
Each evening at 6 and 8pm, a new parade will wind through The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza, featuring characters from the Winter in Venice celebration. The whimsical and elaborate designs will help to set the stage for the evening’s entertainment, and will offer the perfect photo opportunity for a post to Facebook or Twitter.

Lighted Performer at Winter In Venice at The Venetian

Winter In Venice at The Venetian
Winter in Venice at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas

Preceding the parade, seasonal storylines will be projected in another way – in glorious 3D – in the technical marvel “Light of Venice.” This spectacular 3D projection show that transforms the architecture of the iconic clock tower using state-of-the-art digital technology. The show will conclude with a live finale that will illuminate the iconic plaza, including the 65-foot Christmas tree.

LED Christmas Tree at The Venetian
65 Foot LED Christmas Tree

In addition, guests will enjoy strolling musicians and special entertainment performances scheduled throughout the 50-day celebration.

Jordin Sparks and Holiday Characters
Jordin Sparks and Holiday Performers at Winter In Venice

Golden Spoon Chef Competition
What’s an Italian festival without food? As part of Winter in Venice, guests can witness the rise of a culinary legend, as one resort chef is crowned the winner of the first The Venetian Golden Spoon Master Chef Competition.

Golden Spoon Chef Competition

The competition, which unfolds on Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, is open to all Sous Chefs and Chefs de Cuisine at the 30+ restaurants located inside The Venetian and The Palazzo. These chefs will vie for the prestige of THE VENETIAN GOLDEN SPOON AWARD.

Chefs will be challenged to create recipes using ingredients provided in a “mystery basket,” to be prepared in mobile “food truck” kitchens, located at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace. Each chef’s creation will then be available for sale.

Expect plenty of surprises, including guest appearances by The Venetian and The Palazzo’s celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Sammy DeMarco.

“A Winter in Venice Fantasy” at The Waterfall Gardens
The Waterfall Gardens at The Palazzo will be transformed into an elaborate show-stopping fantasy display, a creation of The Palazzo’s award-winning horticulture team.

Holiday Display at The Palazzo
Holiday Display

“Our goal is for our guests to simply say one word when they enter this atrium – wow!” said Caparella. “This isn’t a traditional holiday display. We couldn’t find a better way to describe it than a ‘Winter in Venice Fantasy.’”

Winter Display at The Palazzo
Holiday Decor

Ice branches and 20-foot frosted birch, pine and glittering trees will complement the picturesque scene, including the waterfall and crystal “ice” ponds. Majestic hand-crafted white and pearl peacock statues will overlook guests. The winter gardens will also feature red beaded ornaments, pinecones and fresh poinsettias.

Food & Beverage
A seasonal Winter in Venice cocktail menu, including holiday-inspired spiced cocktails such as Gondolier Blanco, Da Vinci Remedy, and Pom Prosecco will be available throughout the resort lounges, including The Bourbon Room, Zebra Lounge, Bellini Bar, Fusion Mixology Bar and Laguna Champagne Bar.

Holiday-themed prix fixe menus and specials will be offered by select world-class restaurants throughout the holiday including Aquaknox, B&B, Bouchon, Canaletto, Canyon Ranch Café, Delmonico, FIRST Food & Bar, Grand Lux Cafe, Pinot Brasserie, Postrio, Table 10, LAVO Italian Restaurant and Valentino. Photo credit: Courtesy

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Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.

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