Seemingly floating atop the water in the Venetian Lagoon, Venice is an inimitable masterpiece.
From Byzantine mosaic to Gothic churches and palazzos, the architecture and dream-like canals of the floating city are enough to make it a must-see for all lovers of art. However, the wealth of culture doesn't end at the Doge's Palace – Venice is well-known for its rich and diverse art scene. It would be a disservice not to pay respects to some of Venice's best art venues.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Situated on the main canal, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni served as a home to Peggy Guggenheim for 30 years. The palace, though left unfinished well before it fell into Guggenheim's hands, features a magnificent classical facade – equally noteworthy as what lies within.
Two years after acquiring the palace in 1951, Guggenheim opened her home to the Venetian public to enjoy her vast art collection. Included in her portfolio were 20th century masterpieces ranging from cubism and surrealism to abstract expressionism.
Today, her home stands as the second-most visited art museum in Venice, with her personal collection at the core of its holdings.
Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana
Though Venice may seem like a living, breathing antique, it's far from averse to modern experimentation.
The Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana are two contemporary art museums opened in 2006 and 2009 respectively, both renovated by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The galleries are dedicated to showcasing pure contemporary art – primarily that of Francois Pinault's enormous collection. Of the museums' modern focus, Pinault said:
"My sincere wish is that the contemporary art center … shall remain truly contemporary. This impetus is a matter of great importance for me but also for Venice, a city, which has always inspired the best of creativity."
The Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi complements the forward-thinking approach to art, presenting a variety of cultural performance and talks such as Casa delle Parole, a monthly reading of literary texts in their original languages.
Once the official gallery of Venice's own art academy, the Gallerie dell'Accademia now stands as an independent host to countless pre-19th century art pieces. Largely displayed chronologically, the collection includes works from some of the most famous Italian artists – even Leonardo da Vinci's Virtruvian Man, though this is not always on display for the public.
Other artists in the collection include Bellini, Carpaccio and Veronese.
Dedicated art lovers also can't miss the Art Biennale, which transforms Venice into a city-wide gallery for six months every odd year. The next Biennale commences in May 2019.
To book an art tour as incomparable as Venice itself, turn to the brilliant minds at our Canberra travel agency. Simply bring in your initial ideas and a budget, and we'll work with you to develop a holiday brimming with culture.