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May 2017 marks the start of FEST300, the Biennale International Exhibitions in Venice. For those who love contemporary culture, this is a must!

The location of the main exhibit spaces are the Giardini and Arsenal areas of the city. Both are located close together for ease of access.

map-of-bienale-exhibit-areas-venice-2017

Map of the primary locations for the Bienale in Venice 2017

This is a huge international event and hotels always book early. The closer to the dates of the Biennale, the more room prices increase and availability decreases.

Not only art is highlighted. There are events running concurrently in Architecture, Dance, Cinema, Music and Theater.

So, book early. As an example, the 2013 Biennale featured the works of 150 artists housed in eighty-eight country pavilions. Over 475,000 visitors viewed exhibits during the seven months of the event.

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Chiharu Shiota, Japan’s representative at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015

Here are some additional things to keep in mind should you visit Venice during this event.

 

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2015 Exhibit – “Cool Hunting”

Make a plan of attack There’s enough to see at the Biennale (not to mention the rest of Venice) to easily take up five days.

 

Tips for getting to multiple venues The Biennale’s main two exhibit spaces are relatively easy to navigate but if you’re headed to the 50-odd other Biennale venues scattered throughout Venice it helps to have a multi-day vaporetto (public boat transportation) pass, comfortable walking shoes and a smart phone with a GPS service to find your way through the city’s tricky geography (but ask your cell phone provider about the cost of roaming charges before you go!).

The city is the festival Besides the Giardini and Arsenale, other important Biennale venues are at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana, the city’s Renaissance-era former Customs House and now a private museum of contemporary art on a stunning location where the Grand Canal meets the Giudecca Canal.

For all further information, please visit the Venezia Biennale Web Site.

Information about Tourist assistance, including accommodation details, in Venice is found at the Tourist Information Office Venezia.

 

 

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Camp San Giovanni e Paolo

Camp San Giovanni e Paolo

A walk to the east from the Fondamente Nove, brings visitors the Ospedale (Hospital) of Venice and the Cathedral of San Giovanni e Paolo. This is the spectacular pantheon of Venice. Twenty-five Doges, the political leaders of Venice, are buried and memorialized here. Directly next to the Church is the façade of the Renaissance School of Music, (Ex Scuola Musica di San Marco), todays city hospital.

The perfect location for your hotel while in Venice is the Locanda la Corte, located only a few moments’ walk from the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo. (See IF YOU GO below for more details).

From the Locanda, you can be in the large Campo Santa Maria Formosa, named for its late Renaissance church of the same name, in about three minutes. Unique among all the churches of the city, this one has two entrances, one Renaissance style of 1594 and one Baroque style of 1604.

If you continue toward St. Mark’s Square you will find one of the finest and most creative mask makers in Venice,

Il Canovaccio Masks Venice

Il Canovaccio Masks
Venice

. You will know it when you see it: two large glass windows display some of the most unusual masks, Venetian or not, in the world. This is a great place to explore the art of mask making at its finest.

Next, backtrack through Campo Santa Maria Formosa to the church of San Giovanni e Paolo, taking time to drop off your purchases at the Locanda la Corte. If you find yourself in need of lunch, that is after 12:30PM, ask at the Locanda for directions to the Osteria d’Alberto. This tiny and well known Osteria offers exceptional meals, fair prices and easy access.

After lunch? Head to Salva Rosa, located across the square from San Giovanni e e Paolo. This is one of the finest gelato shops in Italy. Next, head east along the Fondamente Laterano. Follow directional signs toward the Arsenale. You will also see signs for the Church of San Francesco della Vigna.  This was the first major church built in Venice following the movement of the population from the northern lagoon island of Torcello.

A few minutes’ walk beyond San Francesco brings you to the Fondamente, walkway, at the Arsenale, Venice’s world famous ship building yards. During the height of the Serenissima, warships were constructed in as little as a day in this complex of workshops and docks.

Walk south along the Arsenale walls and you will come to the Riva along the lagoon, the broad walkway that connects St. Mark’s Square with the Giardini, the garden of the city.

Giardini Promenade Venezia

Giardini Promenade Venezia

At the confluence of the Fondamente Arsenale and the Riva is the Naval Historical Museum of Venice (Museo Storico Navale). The museum is particularly of interest to those with a passion for the sea and the story of Venice’s rise as a naval power on the Mediterranean.

When you depart the museum, turn left and walk toward the garden.

The Giardini is the site of the Biennale in Venice, an international art exhibition. The gardens are a lovely place to stroll, enjoy some coffee at one of the local cafes and relax.

After a break, perhaps on a bench with a view across the lagoon, you can board a vaporetto and return to the San Zaccaria dock at St. Mark’s square before returning to your hotel for a break before dinner.

There are few restaurants in Venice that can match the combination of exceptional seafood, lagoon view and excellent service of Algiubagio. Located close to the Fondamente Nove dock on the north side of Castello, this is a restaurant you must not miss. Evening candlelight, sunset on the lagoon and freshly prepared meals conspire to create unforgettable memories.

Aligubagio Terrace Venezia

Aligubagio Terrace
Venezia

A stroll across Castello provides a unique experience for those visiting the city – few crowds. This is a treasured neighborhood of Venice and I highly recommend enjoying a visit during your time in bella Venezia.

IF YOU GO:

NOTE: If you are headed to Venice in 2013, 2015, etc, you are advised to make hotel reservations well in advance of your arrival. The visitors to the bi annual art exhibition aquickly fill many of the city’s hotels.

Locanda la Corte

Castello 6317 · 30122 Venice, Italy

Tel. +39.041.2411300

WEB: Locanda la Corte

A perfect base for explorations across Venice. The hotel is a five minute walk to either the Rialto or St. Mark’s Square, offers very clean, well-managed accommodation and a beautiful courtyard for breakfast or an afternoon aperitivo.

Church of San Giovanni e Paolo

WEB:   San Giovanni e Paolo

Hours: 08:30 – 18:30 daily

Vaporetto: Fondamente Nove or Rialto

My recommendation is to walk to the church before 8:00AM. The side door closest to the Locanda is open for early admission at no cost. The silence of the space is a quiet and reflective way to begin your days in Venice.

Il Canovaccio

Mask artists of Venice

Castello 5369/70 30122

tel. 041 52 10 393

WEB:   Il Canovaccio

Salva Rosa Gelato

Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, Castello

WEB:  Salva Rosa Gelato

Church of San Francesco della Vigna

WEB:  San Francesco della Vigna

Hours: Daily 8.00-12.30, 3.00-7.00
Vaporetto Celestia

Museo Storico Navale

Riva S. Biasio Castello, 2148 – 30122 Venezia

Tel. 041.2441.399

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:45AM – 13:30

Saturday:  8:45AM – 08.45 – 13:00

Sunday and Holidays: Closed

Entrance Tickets: Euro 1.50 per person

Algiubagio (reservations strongly recommended, particularly for outside/terrace tables)

Fondamenta Nuove, Sestiere Cannaregio, 5039  30121 Venice, Italy

+39 041 523 6084

WEB: Algiubagio

Information on the Biennale Art Exhibition

WEB:  Venezia Biennale

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