If you are visiting Venice in the upcoming weeks you may want to know how you can visit the Venice Biennale (or La Biennale di Venezia).
In fact, the Biennale is full of events, contemporary art exhibitions scattered throughout the city. Even though some decades ago, the Biennale exhibitions were just set in the National Pavilions of the Giardini della Biennale, now it's a little more challenging.
But before we start our journey, let's discover a bit more about this great Venetian exhibition.
Venice Biennale, why is it such an important international art event?
Thanks to the Biennale, Venice is now renowned for its leading role in contemporary art, music, dance, architecture and cinema. It attracts half million people each year, hosting up to 90 countries.
The official opening is usually in April and it lasts till November, alternating each year with exhibitions of art and architecture.
Related to the Biennale, there are collateral events and also the Contemporary Music Festival and the International Film Festival.
The aim of the Biennale is to celebrate and spread artists and art, while reflecting on contemporary issues.
The 59th international exhibition in 2022: Milk of Dreams
Milk of Dreams is directed by Cecilia Alemani and is focusing on the importance humanity thinks to have over the rest of the universe. In the meantime, space will be given to works and artists reflecting on sustainability, environmental issues and wars.
The 2022 Biennale is also very important for the American artist Simone Leigh who won the Golden Lion for its 'Sovereignty', being the first black woman representing the US to win the prize.
So let's discover the ideal itinerary to visit one of the largest contemporary visual art exhibitions in the world.
Our 3 days itinerary to discover the Biennale and its International Art Exhibition
First thing first, in order to organize our itinerary, it's important we know where the exhibitions are set.
Where is the Venice Biennale held?
1. Palazzo Giustinian
The main location of the Biennale is Palazzo Giustinian, a great building facing the Grand Canal. This place hosts the offices but also many exhibition spaces.
2. Giardini della Biennale and the Arsenale
If you are interested in the Architecture Biennale or Art Biennale Arte, however, you will need to go to the so-called Giardini della Biennale and the Arsenale, where, beyond the National Pavilions, many other showrooms are located. Dance, music and theater are also placed at the Arsenale.
3. Lido di Venezia
The Film Festival is held at Lido di Venezia (but just during the first days of September).
So, these are the main places where you can actually visit La Biennale di Venezia.
That's why we prepared this brief itinerary, mixing culture with typical Venetian experiences. Our itinerary will be necessarily focused on the main part of the Biennale, located in Sestiere di Castello (Arsenale and Giardini della Biennale area).
Let's finally explore it!
Day 1 of your tour at the Venice Biennale: the Giardini della Biennale area
If you have 3 days to explore La Biennale di Venezia, you may want to start your tour at the Giardini della Biennale.
They are so well connected with the main parts of Venice by the great public transport service but it is easily reachable also with a panoramic walk from San Marco Square.
Once you arrive, you will see the Gardens in which is enclosed a very important part of the great art event.
The National Pavilions at the Biennale
In the Gardens, besides the Central Pavilion, there are 29 pavilions of as many countries, many of them being created by some important architects.
The Central one was realized in 1894 by Venice Municipality in order to host the first Biennale the following year.
Until 1905, La Biennale di Venezia was held just inside this palace and artists from every part of the world could show their works without boundaries.
In 2009 the Central Pavilion became a multifunctional 3500 square meters place.
Following the Central Pavilion, the Belgian one in 1907, the Hungarian one in 1909, the German Pavilion in 1909 (rebuilt in 1938).
At the end of your visit, you could decide to spend some time in the city center or maybe decide to explore another great art gallery, like the Guggenheim Foundation. So what's next?
Day 2 of your tour at the Biennale: the Arsenale
This is a great day of visits. Arsenale became a Biennale venue just in 1980, during the first Architecture exhibition.
Start your visit at the Corderie and then the Sale d'Armi. It's such a big space that you certainly need to organize your trip beforehand.
For your lunch break you can certainly buy something at the local café, but for dinner, choose something more typical in the vicinity of the Arsenale, in Sestiere Castello.
What to do in Sestiere Castello after visiting the Biennale
After a day of visits, you definitely have to discover the vicinity of the Arsenale.
Castello is the residential part of Venice, quiet and charming, where you can find great things to visit and so many nice restaurants and bars.
Here you can have your spritz or have a traditional Venetian meal and taste the wonders of the local cuisine.
May we suggest some places to eat?
Try the Hostaria Castello (5 minutes walk from the Arsenale) where you can enjoy great local food served in a warm and elegant atmosphere.
Otherwise you can select some great bars in the Riva degli Schiavoni to have your cocktail in front of the lagoon during sunset.
Day 3 of your visit at the Biennale: the other Pavilions scattered around Venice
The Biennale hosts so many collateral events in museums, former churches, galleries and ancient buildings. You may visit something at Cà D'Oro, for example, or at Palazzo Cavallo-Franchetti, close to the Academia.
Don't be surprised if, wandering through Venice, you find other venues you never heard about!
The Venice Insider Guide is available to give you any further hint for your visit!
As you discovered in the article, discovering all the new trends in the art world could be really challenging at the Biennale.
We hope this article gave you some important info to better organize your trip to Venice!