The Venice Biennale is a paradise for art lovers. There are two main sites, Arsenale, a massive exhibition space with room after room of all sorts of contemporary art from all over the world; and Giardini, an open garden with pavilions from many different countries. There’s also lots of art all around town.
Because we had visited Venice before, we decided to stay at this lovely place in Arsenale. It was the best decision – we were close to the city centre but not in the middle of the tourist crowds.
We decided to visit each of the main venues on a different day (last time we needed to see both on the same day and it was definitely too much).
We visited Arsenale on our first day there, which was good as it is the most intense of the two places. Then we visited the different country pavilions in Giardini on our second day, when it was sunny and just generally lovely.
The rest of the time we spent waving at boats going by our window, or drinking delicious Aperol Spritz by the canal.
Isn’t life grand?
HOW TO DO IT:
- Go: The Arts Biennale happens on odd years from May to November. Flights from London aren’t particularly cheap so book in advance.
- Tickets: Tickets to the Biennale cost 25€, including entry to Giardini and Arsenale (you can visit those on different days on the same ticket).
- Stay: We stayed at this amazing place which we found on Airbnb. There are lots of good places around, so pick an area and go from there. We stayed in Castello which is very close to the Biennale but also only about 15 minutes from San Marco square.
- Food: The first time I visited Venice I wasn’t massively impressed with the food, as everywhere looked like a tourist trap. This time it was much better, mostly because we weren’t staying in the city centre. Da Paolo was a good choice for our first dinner. We also stopped at Osteria alla Tana, which is a great affordable stop just outside Arsenale – perfect for relaxing after hours of walking around the many exhibits. But just by venturing a bit further from the city centre it is possible to find nice restaurants.
- Do: Aside from the Biennale, Venice is a beautiful and iconic place to visit. But it can be quite touristic too – from the busy San Marco Square and Rialto Bridge to the expensive gondola rides, it can all get a bit much. But the Doge’s Palace is beautifully decorated with paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and many more, so it’s definitely worth a visit. And a walk around San Polo is a great way to see a more authentic side of Venice.
I’m already looking forward to going back in 2017!