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The Venice Biennale, where world art has its home
Among the most prestigious art institutions in the world, the Venice Biennale has been bringing an International Exhibition of Contemporary Art to the Lagoon for more than a century, the first dating back to the late 19th century. Over the years, exhibitions and festivals of music, cinema, theatre and architecture have been alternated.
The level and quality of its events make Venice one of the world capital of creativity.
The Bienniale in Art and Architecture
The Biennale in Art and the Biennale in Architecture take place in alternate years from April/May until November.
Both exhibitions are divided into three areas: the International Exhibition, curated by the Director, appointed for each edition, the Exhibitions at the National Pavilions, set up by the curator appointed by the Pavilion Commissioner, and the side events, approved by the curator.
There is no sestiere [Venetian district] in Venice that is not in some way involved in the numerous encounters at the Biennale.
The first International Art Exhibition of 1895 was held in the Art Nouveau-style Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Gardens of Venice. Given the success of the initiative, it was necessary to create additional exhibition spaces. The National Pavilions were created in 1907, now numbering 29 in total.
Not to be missed at the Giardini is the optical café designed by German artist Tobias Rehberger, which won him the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 2009 Art Biennale.
The heart of the exhibitions has for some decades been in the spaces of the Arsenale, first used in 1981 for the Biennale of Architecture directed by Paolo Portoghesi.
The Arsenal was the Venetian shipyard where the ships with which the Venetians dominated the Mediterranean trade for centuries were built and launched. An extraordinary space of industrial archaeology open for visits (the northern part) even when there are no Biennale exhibitions.
Cinema, theatre, music and dance
The Venice International Film Festival takes place on the Venice Lido. The first edition dates back to 1932 and within a few years it became the social event par excellence in Venice, attended by international film stars.
With screenings, presentations and meetings with actors and directors, the Festival is a paradise for film buffs, guests of the great hall of the Palazzo del Cinemathe new Sala Giardino or the other halls, not far from the mythical beach of the Lido in front of theHotel Excelsior.
There are also festivals dedicated to music, dance and theatre, all of which have an international appeal.
The Biennale venue
The institutional headquarters of the Biennale is located in Ca' Giustinian, a late-Gothic palace from 1471 overlooking St Mark's Basin, which can be visited on request. The Portego on the ground floor is a space for exhibitions of a historical-retrospective nature, set up with materials from the Biennale's Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts.
There is also a Children's Space on the ground floor, where younger visitors can play, leaf through picture books or engage in creative activities.
For coffee or lunch with a view of the Punta della Dogana and the island of San Giorgio, know that Ca' Giustinian has a café-restaurant with a terrace on the Grand Canal.
Explore the surroundings