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Rise Art's Guide to the Venice Biennale

We give our our Insider picks to make your trip to Venice all that it should be.

By Katherine Mellor | 13 May 2015

An Art Lover’s Guide to Venice

If you’re a regular visitor to the Venice Biennale, you will already have your own favourite haunts in the city (and do feel free to share them with us please!), but if 2015 will be your first visit, allow us to offer some highlights...

What to See:
As well as the main Biennale exhibitions at the Giardini and the Arsenale, there are dozens of other ‘collateral’ events around the city.  You can procure a map outlining these events at most of the main sites, but do keep your eyes peeled, as you are certain pass many of them as you walk about the city.  Some of my favourite exhibitions have been discoverd by chance.

To Begin... The Palazzo Grassi and Punte della Dogana are fantastic spaces showing contemporary art owned by the François Pinault Foundation.  This year’s exhibitions - Martial Raysse and Slip of the Tongue - are particularly intriguing.

Palazzo Grassi

Should you need an escape from the contemporary, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection has a wonderful collection of work by Picasso, Pollock, Ernst and others, all displayed in the stunning former home of the incomparable Peggy Guggenheim.  And please don’t miss the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, home to several of Tintoretto’s masterpieces.

Peggy Guggenheim

Where To Eat and Drink:
Visiting the Biennale is thirsty work, so it’s always good to know the nearest places to find a proper bowl of pasta or a tall glass of prosecco. 

If you’re at the Arsenale or the Giardini, your best bet is the parade of restaurants on Via Garibaldi.  I particularly like Osteria al Garanghelo and Restaurante Giorgione.  El Refolo is a great bar for pre- or post-dinner drinks, and nearby Dai Tosi serves the best pizza in the area.

Restaurante Giorgione

If you’re in the mood for a real treat, Corte Sconta (which literally translates as ‘hidden courtyard’) is a beautiful restaurant in Castello serving primarily fish dishes.  I highly recommend heeding the advice of Rita, the owner, who will guide you towards dishes you may not have initially considered but will ensure a fantastic meal.  Do book in advance.

Corte Sconta

Campo Santa Margherita is the student area of the city, and is a great place for people-watching all day and throughout the evening.  Cafe Rosso (in the main square, painted red) is one of my favourite places in the world to hang out and does the best Spritz in town.  Whether you're in the Campari or Aperol camp is a highly amusing and much debated point of Spritz connoisseurship.

Cafe Rosso


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