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Art, architecture and scenic views

Art exhibitions occur in Venice throughout almost the entire year. These are dedicated to specific artists, particular periods or to diverse subjects and themes. They also reflect both contemporary or traditional forms of representation.

Among these exhibitions, the Venice Biennale merits mentioning. It is an important international exhibition occurring every two years which presents the current world of visual arts and architecture.

I have been interested and curious to attend this exhibition for decades. There, one can see and learn about new art trends from around the world by passing through the pavilions of different countries in the Biennial Gardens.

A new part, with pavilions for additional countries, has been added in the Venetian Arsenale. The Arsenale was once Venice’s shipbuilding area. This is where ships were built, powering the Republic’s expansion throughout the Adriatic and much of the Eastern Mediterranean. These ships constituted Venice’s military and economic power.

The large pavilions currently in the “Corderie” or rope factory are where hemp hawsers and ropes were made for mooring and manoeuvring the ship’s sails. The “Artiglierie” or Artillery is where the ship’s canons were moulded.

All these buildings are arrayed around a vast inside pool overlooking the “Gagiandre”, an area made up of covered piers for sheltering boats.

By visiting here, one comes in contact with the history of Venice. It is said that one boat was built every day in Venice. A boat would emerge from the Arsenal along the “Galeazze Canal” “armed” with everything needed and ready to set sail as it entered the mouth of the lagoon.

In addition to a journey into history and contemporary art and architecture, the Biennial, running from June to November, affords visitors other possibilities. They can also access various sites and private “palazzi” or mansions in the city which are normally closed to the public.

Beside the previously mentioned Gardens and Arsenal areas, there are many parallel exhibitions open to the public during the Biennale which take place in these private palazzi.

A visit to these other exhibition spaces and a glance through their windows often affords uncommon views and unusual or unexpected vistas over the city.

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