Gearing up for the Venice Biennale

Travel Ideas

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This year’s Venice Biennale Art Exhibition kicks off on Sunday and it does look pretty exciting. The press previews have been taking place over the last few days and I’ve been reading some great things – definitely exciting enough to make me think about booking a break in Venice sometime before the exhibition ends on November 22!

The contemporary art exhibition is one of the world’s most anticipated and takes place every two years. It also incorporates dance, cinema and music and this year’s theme is ‘Making Worlds’. I love the way it works: basically, there are 30 permanent national pavilions and each is assigned to different countries each year. This year’s entry for Great Britain is former Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen (whose debut film Hunger is definitely worth seeing if you haven’t yet) and he’s already garnering a lot of praise from art critics at the festival – so go us!

A lot of art industry events in Europe tend to be very Eurocentric but not this year’s Biennale. There are national pavilions from countries as far apart as Armenia, New Zealand, Brazil, Iran, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Gabon and China. So anyone planning to visit the city during the art exhibition will have a truly global repertoire of artists’ work to experience and enjoy. Plus, the fact that it’s on for nearly five months means that there’s quite a wide window for art lovers to plan their holiday – so there’s no excuse to miss out.

I haven’t been to Venice for over five years but I really love the city. Of course, it’s exceptionally crowded in the summer and the abundance of waterways means that an unpleasant smell can permeate the streets during times of hot weather but let’s ignore these failings! If you love art, history and architecture, there are few better places in Europe – if not the world – in which to immerse yourself.

I know it’s really easy to get to Venice by catching a flight from London, but I think if I make it to the Biennale this summer, I’ll attempt to get the train. It’s easier than it sounds – you just need to get the Eurostar to Paris and then the sleeper train from there to Venice, with a potential journey time of less than 15 hours. Definitely more exciting than a simple hop-on/hop-off plane journey!

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