The 58th International Venice Biennale opens May eleventh and with it comes a host of cultural events happening throughout Venice. While the Biennale is not to be missed (and can be seen on an Oh So Arty tour) there are lots of other things to do in Venice that are worth checking out. Keep reading for a breakdown of how to spend 72 hours in Venice curated by local Oh So Arty insider Sasha Zagrebèlnaia.
One can find something inspiring in every corner of Venice and the best neighborhood to experience all the city has to offer is the Dorsoduro art district. Dorsoduro is the southern district of Venice, starting from Punta della Dogana running almost until Piazzale Roma. It’s normally less crowded and is considered one of the best Venetian walking areas. For a luxurious experience Sasha recommends staying at the Hotel Belle Arti in the heart of the Dorsoduro district so you can easily walk to some of the best art viewing in the world!
If you’re staying in Dorsoduro you absolutely must visit the famous Punta della Dogana, an art museum that opened in 2009 in one of Venice’s old customs buildings. This impressive space was renovated by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and it presents personal and collective exhibitions formed mostly by the Pinault Collection. Just across the Academia bridge is the Palazzo Grassi another museum owned by the Pinault collection which often co-hosts major exhibitions such as Damien Hirst in 2017.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is also located in the Dorsoduro arts district. This institution is not only famous for its enviable modern art collection but also because of the outstanding personality of Peggy Guggenheim, who lived in the palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Now the museum presents Peggy’s personal collection, including masterpieces by Picasso, Miro, Magritte, Calder, Kandinsky and many others. While visiting don't miss out on the Schulhof and Nasher Sculpture Garden which features a recently renovated cafe that provides the ideal place for an afternoon coffee or Spritz.
Venice is essentially a huge museum under the open sky, where you see a real masterpiece at every turn. Renaissance, Baroque and Contemporary Art exist here in the same historical space. The whole city of Venice is imbued with art and masterpieces can be found in museums, churches, cathedrals, modern installations and historical monuments. Sasha has included recommendations of some of her favorite galleries to visit within the city. She suggests Marignana Arte opened in 2013 by Emanuela Fadalti and Matilde Cadenti because they represent the new generations of artists, as well as the well-established ones. In addition Sasha recommends the international gallery Bel-Air Fine Art and the Italian outpost of Parisian gallery, Galleria Alberta Pane.
If you’re looking for a respite from the bustling art scene there are many other cultural offerings in Venice. The Libreria Aqua Alta is a famous bookshop in the city center that presents a great collection of vintage and contemporary books chaotically placed in old gondola boats, antique shelves and even on the floor. After getting your literary fix head to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi for some retail therapy. This brand department store opened in 2013 and is housed in the former headquarters of the German merchants in Venice. While you’re there it’s an absolute must to head up to the rooftop terrace for one of the best views of Venice!
A trip to Italy is never complete without indulging in the country’s amazing cuisine. Cichetti are small snacks or side dishes traditional to Venice and Sasha prefers Osteria Al Squero or Cantine del Vino Già Schiavi to get her fix of delicious crostinis, cured meats and more. For a delicious lunch you will find both locals and tourist alike are fans of Trattoria da Fiore. The fresh and local Venetian cuisine is the perfect way to satiate your appetite after long days of walking and visiting museums. For more options you can’t go wrong with either Trattoria San Trovaso or Ristorante Terrazza del Casin dei Nobili. Finally, you can’t visit Italy without treating yourself to some gelato. Sasha’s favorite is Gelateria Da Nico for the famous Gianduiotto ice cream. Complete your trip to Venice by booking a private art tour with Oh So Arty for an insider perspective of the city!