Spend an enchanting Winter in Venice … in Vegas

Venetian and Palazzo present a flurry of seasonal festivities as the luxurious resorts kick off their third-annual Winter in Venice celebration Nov. 18, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014.

Photo courtesy Venetian and Palazzo

Festivities will include a skating rink, character performances, a fantasy scene in The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and Gardens, a 3-D light projection show and two Italian-inspired food festivals.

Additionally, food and beverage venues throughout the Venetian and Palazzo will offer seasonal Winter in Venice menus.

“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, Palazzo and Sands Expo, adding, “Winter in Venice finds its inspiration in the folklore and tales that generations of Italians have grown to know and love.”

Here is a rundown of the Winter in Venice holiday events:

Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas – The Symphony Tour
Winter in Venice will kick off with “Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas – The Symphony Tour” at 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 – 23 and Nov. 27 – 28 in the Venetian Theatre.

The 90-minute performance features music from the all-female music ensemble’s second Christmas album, “Home For Christmas,” including holiday favorites “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Silent Night.”

Photo courtesy Venetian and Palazzo

Outdoor Skating Rink
Glide through the holiday season on the Venetian’s innovative skating rink with sessions at 3:15, 4:15, 5:15, 6:15, 7:15, 8:15, 9:15 and 10:15 p.m. daily.

In keeping with the resorts’ dedication to green initiatives, this unique skating rink is made from an environmentally-friendly material called “fen-ice.” The state-of-the-art recycled polymer doesn’t need electricity or refrigeration.

Skating tickets are $14.95 ($9.95 for locals and Grazie cardholders) and free for kids, ages 7 – 12 (up to three free children with one paid admission).  Kids must be 7 or older to skate.

The Waterfall Atrium and Gardens
The Waterfall Atrium and Gardens at the Palazzo will be transformed into an elaborate show-stopping fantasy display by the Palazzo’s award-winning horticulture team. The display will include ice branches, 20-foot frosted birch, pine and glittering trees, crystal ice ponds, majestic hand-crafted white and pearl peacock statues, red beaded ornaments, pinecones and fresh poinsettias.

“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 ‘Fantasy.’”

Photo courtesy Venetian and Palazzo

Holiday Spectacular and Light Show
The Venetian will deck its front exterior and Doge’s Palace plaza with winter decorations such as larger-than-life snowflakes, thousands of festooned lights and a 65-foot LED Christmas tree. A nightly “Winter in Venice Holiday Spectacular” will unfold throughout the plaza with strolling, characters, musicians and special entertainment performances.

Additionally, “Light of Venice”  is a 3-D projection show transforming the Venetian’s iconic clock tower with state-of-the-art digital technology.

La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival
The festival takes place Dec. 5 – 8 and includes four days of culinary experiences. Events feature some of the best Italian chefs and culinary celebrities, including Chef Mario Batali, the legendary Chianti “Butcher of Panzano” Dario Cecchini, Chef Wolfgang Puck, Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, Roberto Caporuscio and Anthony Giglio.

Culinary Clash Weekend with Chef Emeril Lagasse
Witness the rise of a culinary legend on Dec. 13 as one Venetian and Palazzo chef is crowned the winner of the second Culinary Clash Master Chef Competition, winning a trip to Venice. Chefs will be challenged to create recipes in mobile kitchens with provided ingredients. Lagasse will serve as a celebrity judge.

The Venetian Masters of Mixology competition will feature some of the greatest mixologists in the country: Tony Abou Ganim, Francesco Lafranconi and Dale de Groff.

The sixth annual Carnival of Cuisine food festival will take place on Dec. 14 at The Palazzo pool deck with a special appearance by Lagasse. Guests will enjoy tastings from more than 20 restaurants.