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The building of the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi of Venice form the exhibition centre for one of the five largest collections of contemporary art in the world, the Pinault Collection. Those who love art and architecture should not miss a visit to both spaces, restored by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
These museums do not display a real permanent collection but set up exhibitions with ever-changing works, while artists are invited to create on commission.
Punta della Dogana
The Punta della Dogana complex is a triangular-shaped building completed in 1682. It stands at the mouth of the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, in the centre of St Mark's Basin, in the place where the view of Venice is most spectacular: from the Punta there is a 360° panorama of Giudecca, the island of San Giorgio and its Palladian basilica, the Riva degli Schiavoni, the Doge's Palace, St Mark's Square, the Royal Gardens and Ca' Giustinian.
The building served as the Venice Customs House until the 1980s. After twenty years of neglect, the Venice City Council decided to turn it into a centre for contemporary art: the Pinault Collection won the tender and in 2009 inaugurated the space returned to the city.
The exhibition route starts at the Campo di Santa Maria della Salute and ends at the cusp of the building on which the Torre della Fortuna, with its golden sphere, rises. Along the way, you look out over both the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, as if from the sides of a ship.
On the occasion of exhibitions, the Pinault Collection organises guided tours, but it is also possible to be guided through the building alone, with a final aperitif on the terrace.
Palazzo Grassi was the last palace built on the Grand Canal before the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. Since 1951, it has been a space dedicated to art, first as an International Centre for the Arts and Costume, then as a venue for major exhibitions when it was purchased by Fiat in 1983 and renovated by architect Gae Aulenti.
Finally, in 2005, the palace was bought by the French collector François Pinault. In this way he created the first of his museums to display, through the use of temporary exhibitions, his immense collection of works by contemporary authors from 1960 to the present day.
In 2013, the Teatrino del Palazzo, which had been created in the 1960s in the palace garden, was also restored. Today, the Teatrino offers a rich programme of concerts, screenings, lectures and cultural events.
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