Tour Leader @ Venice Urban Adventures. Passionate traveller. Vegetarian foodie. Animal lover.
Dating back to 1895, Art Biennale is one of the oldest art exhibitions in the world. Created to give voice to art and artists, the festival now celebrates all forms of art including cinema, theatre, dance and architecture.
La Biennale di Venezia
This year, Biennale will be all about architecture, with 71 participants from as many countries spread out between the Giardini pavilion, Arsenale and different locations all over the city.
This edition is titled “Freespace,” and will focus on the importance of the quality of space and the idea of space as open and free. The 16th International Architecture Exhibition will be open to the public from May 26th to November 25th, 2018, and is a great way also to explore an authentic part of our city.
Local tip: All exhibitions and collateral events held outside Giardini and Arsenale are usually free admission. How to spot them? Easy! Just look for the red square with the white lion, the recognisable symbol of Biennale.
How to get there
The Giardini pavilion and Arsenale are reachable by public transportation and both are walkable distance from Piazza San Marco. Our big tip is to buy a public transportation pass and jump on a waterbus to get to Giardini. From the train and bus station, get on line 5.1 and get off at Giardini della Biennale; the pavilion’s entrance is just in front of the water bus station.
To avoid the crowds — especially on the first opening week, weekends and last days of Biennale — we suggest you get up early and be there as the gates open. You can actually visit Giardini and Arsenale on two separate days with your purchased ticket, so that you have enough time to explore not only Castello, but some other Biennale locations scattered all over the city.
The Venice Giardini in the Castello district is an area of parkland that hosts the Biennale Art Festival. Here’s what you need to know to explore Castello.
This district is considered the most truly Venetian district. Castello has quiet residential streets where everyone knows each other, filled with that old-style community vibe that we love about this beautiful city. Get lost in intricate maze alleys, visit the oldest Basilica in town, sip coffee overlooking the gardens and get a real taste of our cuisine at some local taverns. You can actually spend an entire day just exploring and immersing yourself in this authentic part of Venice.
Fill up with good coffee and a delicious cake slice at La Serra dei Giardini, a fantastic greenhouse built in 1894, that now hosts not only a great flower shop, but also a relaxing coffee shop. All year round it hosts special workshops for kids and adults, and concerts are exceptional during summer.
Get your kicks on and walk through the long tree-lined street towards Via Garibaldi; turn right and ask for San Pietro di Castello basilica. This church dates back to 822, one of the oldest churches in the city that hosts one of the most loved festivals in town at the end of June.
While exploring the area, you will most likely end up towards the main street Via Garibaldi, once a canal that has been covered to make way for this amazing street filled with small taverns and bars. It is hard to choose the best, but our favourites are without doubt El Refolo with its high stools, great wines and tasty panini; and Salvmeria, a former delicatessen shop, transformed by some young Venetians into a new, hip bar. Stop at both for some local cicchetti and wine. While cicchetti are considered appetisers by most people, trust us: a full plate of them makes for a good lunch.
Finish up your day relaxing in Sant’Elena, the extreme part of Venice, famous for its luscious green areas and beautiful views on Saint Mark’s Basin. This is a favourite spot for many of us at Venice Urban Adventures – not only during the day for some relaxing time under the trees, but also at sunset for views of the city under the gorgeous, golden light.
Want a traditional dinner? Book a table at Covino, a tiny restaurant run by a young sommelier. Everything you eat is freshly made using fresh and local produce. Ask for their pasta dishes. You will thank us!