Eighteen months ago I was in Venice for the 2015 biennale and two years before that, in 2013, my partner and I were there on our first ever holiday together. Well, it’s biennale time again and I’m feeling a certain amount of nostalgia.
(For those who don’t know the Venice biennale is one of the biggest events in the contemporary art world’s calendar). I haven’t got plans to go again this year, but you never know. Anyway, all this nostalgia has got me reflecting on the times I’ve spent in this beautiful little city of canals, bridges and gondolas and thought I would share my past experiences with you in the form of a guide: How to spend 2 days in Venice, enjoy!
09:00 See the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
09:30 Gondola ride down the Grand Canal
10:00 Wander through San Marco
11:00 Visit the Piazza San Marco including the San Marco Campanile (bell tower) and the Basilica di San Marco
12:00 Walk across the Ponte dell’Accademia and visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia
13:00 Find lunch on Dorsoduro, recommendation: Corner Pub (cheap, great mulled wine and paninis with a view)
13:30 See modern art at the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim (Peggy Guggenheim Collection)
14:30 Stop by the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute before seeing some contemporary art at the Punta della Dogana
16:00 Wander back over to San Marco and get an aperitivo at Harry’s Bar
18:00 Enjoy the sunset at Piazza San Marco and wander along Riva degli Schiavoni at the edge of the canal
19:00 Grab some dinner, recommendation: Dal Moro’s (for less than 7€ get good fresh pasta and some wine to take away)
5:30 (or whenever sunrise is that day) Go and watch the sunrise at Piazza San Marco. Trust me it’s worth getting up early for
08:00 Find some breakfast, potentially at one of the pastry shops dotted everywhere on the island, recommendation: Le Cafè Pasticceria (good coffee and good pastries)
09:00 Catch the waterbus from S. Zaccaria to Murano
10:00 Explore the island of Murano, watch some glass making
12:00 Return to San Marco via the waterbus and spend the afternoon wandering through the streets of Venice
12:30 Make a stop at Libreria Acqua Alta. It’s a bookstore you won’t forget in a hurry complete with a gondola filled with old books.
Gondola rides aren’t cheap but it’s worth it to do it at least once. Also it was Valentine’s Day when we were first in Venice so of course we were going to be a romantic cliché.
Don’t be fooled, the Piazza San Marco is only this peaceful in Winter. I highly recommend climbing the bell tower if you have a chance. It provides spectacular views of the city.
The Ponte dell’Accademia provides some of the most quintessential views of Venice without the crowds of the Rialto.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia has an impressive collection of Renaissance art, particularly with works from the Venetian school, as to be expected.
Starting at the Gallerie dell’Accademia you’ll make your way forward in time to see the impressive modern art collection at the Peggy Guggenheim. Highlights include works by Picasso, Calder, Marini, Brancusi and Kandinsky to name just a few.
Even if art isn’t your thing, there are fantastic views from the museum!
The walk between these museums is fabulous too.
Venice is full of amazing architecture and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is no exception.
Next up is the Punta della Dogana, a dedicated contemporary art space with a warehouse aesthetic and stunning views of the canal.
Sunrise in Piazza San Marco was worth getting up ridiculously early. It was perfectly quiet and still. The gondolas bobbed gently on the canal as the sun slowly rose behind Giudecca. We were almost entirely alone save for a couple of other photographers.
Murano is just one of the many islands that you can go to around Venice. Murano is the glass island and there are glass souvenir shops, glass-blowing workshops and glass sculptures all over the island. The other island I would like to go to is Burano but I haven’t been, maybe next time.