This year on my return I set aside only 2 days to visit the multiple venues, but I think 3 days would have been better. The total experience was overwhelming but also spectacular! I did not always love the art, but the variety and ingenuity provided a wow factor and ensured an entertaining time. Venice is Venice; the history, the art, the music, the water, the racing vaporetto and the sunsets are truly unique. What I loved more than the main exhibitions, was the chance findings of smaller exhibits and installations peppered throughout the island, perhaps through the open door to a villa or in a deserted chapel.
There were also several outdoor sculptures to investigate.
If you plan to go, and I hope you do, here are some tips:
- In the opening days of the Venice Biennale the venues are chaotic, filled with throngs of art lovers, the artists and the paparazzi.
- You can buy tickets online or at the gate.
- The show runs from May to November. May, June and September are lovely. Summer is brutally hot, October and November wetter and subdued.
- Book a ticket way in advance if you want to attend Tavola Aperta, an al fresco lunch with a featured artist. Lovely and intimate.
- Go in early September and catch Venice Glass Week. A week filled with exhibits, demonstrations, lectures and parties!
- Venice is walkable, but you may want to stay close to the Giardani park site in the Castello neighborhood. (Castello covers a large vibrant area, with one section bordering St. Mark’s Square and dotted with luxury hotels. Farther from St. Mark's, the neighborhood gets more laid back.)
- Save money on accommodations by using Airbnb or staying at a monastery or convent for $40 - $70 US per night.
- A super quick train ride delivers you to the city of Padua and Giotto's frescoes in the Arena Chapel. Reserve in advance!
- Book an art tour with: http://bestveniceguides.it/en/guida/nicoletta-consentino/. (We enjoyed the Titian and Tintoretto tour.)
- Book a private tour of a glassblowing furnace on the island of Murano and explore the out-lying islands as well.
The Venice Biennale is on to the end of November and the next is 2021.