Whether you come to Venice during the Biennale or at another time, this ancient, wondrous city engages all of your senses. From the narrow alleyways and winding canals to the hum of vaporetti crisscrossing the lagoon. From the mishmash of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings to the atmospheric bàcari, where locals enjoy small plates with glasses of wine poetically known as ombre. And, of course, there’s the seductive Adriatic light shimmering on the water, water everywhere.
Getting lost in Venice is part of the city’s allure. But to make sure you don’t get too far off track, Marlies Verhoeven Reijtenbagh, CEO and cofounder of the Cultivist—a members-only global arts club that provides insider information and special access to museums, fairs, and other art-world events—offers tips on the places to be in Venice now.
Where to Stay
An obvious pick for its central location on the Grand Canal, the Hotel Danieli
boasts a spectacular lobby that fills with art-world insiders meeting on the fly or resting between shows. Photo: Matthew Shaw
The nearby Bauer Hotel
is charming and its bar is the unofficial—maybe at this point, official—late-night drinks spot for the entire art world during the Biennale. Photo: Simon Watson, Courtesy of the Bauer Hotel
Across the canal on Giudecca island, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani
is a classic, luxurious, pampering hotel that’s sure to please those seeking peace and quiet. Photo: Genvis Loci, Courtesy of Belmond Hotel Cipriani
a boutique property stunningly designed by Philippe Starck, cleverly juxtaposes renowned Venetian craft with quirky and innovative elements. Photo: Serena Eller, Courtesy of Palazzina G
takes over both of collector François Pinault’s spaces, the Palazzo Grassi
(above) and the Punta della Dogana,
with a show that was years in the making. April 9–November. Photo: Matteo De Fina, Courtesy of Palazzo Grassi
Multimedia artist Jan Fabre,
who has staged memorable installations around Venice during recent biennales, is back with “Glass and Bones: Sculptures 1978–2017,” at the Abbazia di San Gregorio la Salute.
May 13–November 26. Above is Fabre’s 2003 Searching for Utopia
. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ten established artists, including Yinka Shonibare,
mentored ten emerging artists from different cultural backgrounds for “Diaspora Platform,” at the Palazzo Pisani a Santa Marina.
May 13–November 26 Photo: Wikimedia Commons
returns to the Palazzo Fortuny
with his latest captivating, esoterically themed show, titled “Intuition.” May 9–November. Above is a scene from his previous exhibition in the space. Photo: Flickr/G.sighele
Cover: Venice's historic Punta della Dogana captivates with new works by Damien Hirst.
Photo: © Thomas Mayer