Are you looking for the best museums in Venice, Italy that are worth visiting? I have been to Italy with my husband and friends during our 2-week Interrail trip. It was absolute fun and adventure. We stayed in Venice for a couple of days to sightseeing and visit various museums. I would like to share with you my top picks of the museums that I recommend visiting in Venice and the Lagoon islands.
Venice can be described in a variety of ways, including intriguing, odd, breathtaking, lovely, cloudy, flooded, and so on. Venice has been a settlement for more than 1,200 years. Despite this fishing and trading city’s centuries of evolution, it still seems very traditional and unaltered. Venice is what it is because of this.
You can learn about Venice’s extensive history, which spans many centuries, in any of the many museums and churches that display artefacts and works of art. You won’t want to miss visiting some of the best museums in the world, which are housed in stunning historic buildings amidst the canals and gondolas.
Given the romantic atmosphere of the city, it should come as no surprise that many of the local museums are devoted to art, but there are also many historical sites to discover. I wrote another article about the Best Things to Do in Venice (Italy) as well as the Beautiful Islands in Venice (Italy) That Are Worth Visiting. I encourage you to check out them and learn more about the beauty and culture of Venice.
Read more: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In Italy For The First Time
Best Museums in Venice (Italy)
1. The Ca’ Giustinian
Ca’ Giustinian is a palace in Venice that can be found in the San Marco sestiere (district), facing Punta della Dogana and the Grand Canal. The Giustinian and Badoer-Tiepolo buildings were joined to create the palace, which was first known as “dei Giustinian” and was constructed around 1471.
A pre-existing structure, in which Lorenzo Giustinian, the first patriarch of Venice, resided in the first half of the century, was replaced with the palace in the second half of the 15th century by the Giustinian family, one of the most illustrious families of the Venetian patriciate.
The Morosini family acquired the palace in the seventeenth century. The building was converted into the Albergo all’Europa in 1820, where notable guests included Giuseppe Verdi, Marcel Proust, and Théophile Gautier.
The transfer of the Veneto region to the Kingdom of Italy was signed by the French plenipotentiary general Edmond Le Boeuf on October 19, 1866, in a room of the Hotel Europa.
Ca’ Gustinian is now the Venice Biennale’s official headquarters after being acquired by the Venice Municipality. The Biennale Foundation organizes the Venice Biennale, an annual international cultural exhibition, in Venice, Italy.
The Biennale is the oldest of its kind because it has been held annually since 1895. The primary exhibit in Castello alternates between works of art and architecture in the halls of the Arsenale and Biennale Gardens.
- Belgium Pavillion of Venice Biennale
The Belgian pavilion was Giardini’s first built-in foreign pavilion. The structure was designed by architect Léon Sneyers in the art nouveau style, with influences from Josef Hoffmann and Viennan architecture, for construction in 1907.
Between 1929 and 1930, A. de Bosschère added rooms to the pavilion on either side of the main exhibition area. He also changed the pitch of the roof to a flat one. Later, the pavilion underwent two restorations: the first was in 1948 by Virgilio Vallot, who also made the façade concave with rosette motifs, and the second was in 1997 by Georges Baines, who turned the area into a white cube gallery.
The pavilion was designed by M. Papandréou and constructed between 1933 and 1934. The project was also worked on by Brenno Del Giudice, who oversaw the Sant’Elena expansion of the Biennale. The simple design of the pavilion includes a T-shaped hall. The brickwork is decorated with Greek and diamond patterns, and the portico is lined with Greco-Byzantine round arches.
A national pavilion at the Venice Biennale is the Egyptian pavilion. Egypt’s official Biennale representation is housed there. The structure is a piece of the larger complex that Brenno Del Giudice created in 1932 to house Venetian decorative arts on Sant’Elena Island, expanding the Biennale’s primary Giardini area.
Later, the structure housed Switzerland’s national pavilion until 1952, when Switzerland moved to a new one and turned the structure over to Egypt. The Egyptian pavilion is surrounded by the national pavilions of Serbia and Venice. The Golden Lion prize for the best national pavilion at the Biennale was given to Egypt’s 1995 exhibition.
Josef Hoffmann, a co-founder of the Vienna Secession, won a competition with his design for the Austrian pavilion. Although the pavilion’s designs date back to 1913, construction didn’t end until 1934. Hans Hollein performed a restoration on the structure in 1984.
Between 1913 and 1914, the Russian pavilion was planned and constructed. Its designer, Alexey Shchusev, drew inspiration from Russian architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. Pavilion closed in 1922, 1938–1954, and 1978–1980. Italian Futurism was on display in the Russian Pavilion in 1926 and 1936, under the direction of curator Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.
2. Peggy Guggenheim Collection
In the early 20th century, the mining industry was where the Guggenheims made their money. Not only did they become wealthy, but some of the richest people to ever live. After a few generations, their family stopped being interested in business and started philanthropically, with a strong emphasis on the arts.
There are currently three Guggenheim collections around the world, and a fourth, incredibly beautiful museum, is being built in Abu Dhabi.
After Peggy Guggenheim bought the Venier Palace two years earlier, the Venetian Guggenheim Collection was created in 1951. The palace, which is uncomfortably small for Venice, contains an exquisite collection of 20th-century art. Dal, Picasso, Pollock, René Margritte, Vasily Kandisky, and other artists are among them. There aren’t many Venetian items inside, but there is some of the best early 20th-century art in the world.
3. Glass Museum (Murano Glass)
It is impossible to have a discussion about Venice without mentioning Murano and glassmaking. This is due to the fact that glass-blowing has always been and still is a crucial component of Venice’s identity. When I visited Murano, we also went to see a professional glassblower making a live demonstration in glass making. It was truly a fascinating skills to witness.
Of course, I haven’t missed the opportunity to get a murano glass earrings and other trinkets for my Italian souvenir.
Because of worries that their furnaces burned too hot in the main city of Venice, glassblowers were compelled to relocate to Murano.
They became extremely wealthy and were among the few individuals permitted to carry swords in Venice. Unfortunately, Venice’s commercial city wanted to protect their trade secrets, so they forbade them from leaving.
Glassblowing is a common practice today. Although it didn’t start in Venice, it reached unprecedented heights there. The Murano Glass Museum offers a look at the development of glass. You can learn more about the history of glass in general, including its origins, production processes, and the numerous styles that it embodies, in addition to this particular creative style.
You can visit the museum to see some incredibly well-preserved artifacts from the beginning of the medium and then walk through the galleries chronologically to see how glasswork’s form, style, and purpose have changed over time.
History of the Museum
Before being sold to Murano in 1840, this magnificent Gothic palace was passed down and sold to numerous owners throughout history. Before changing into a museum in 1861, it was first a town hall. This museum was only added to Venice in 1923 when Murano joined the city. Today, while on a trip to Murano, you can visit and take in the stunning architecture, frescoes, and most significantly, a lot of blown glass.
The museum’s website states that the glass factory is organized chronologically. Roman glass from the first to third century A.D. is presented first, followed by a section on Murano. With pieces from the 15th to the 20th centuries, including many well-known masterpieces, it is the largest collection of Murano glass in the world. This museum is truly wonderful.
4. Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’ Oro (Pallazo Santa Sofia)
The stunning architecture of this Venetian gothic monument is well-known. It was constructed in 1420 and is renowned for its eye-catching exterior facade, which is decorated with intricate carvings of vines and flowers and detailed marble work.
The building has undergone numerous ownership changes since it was first built, losing many of its original design components.
Before giving it to the state in 1922, Baron Giorgio Franchetti, its last owner, undertook some repairs. The exterior details were particularly affected over time by structural wear and tear, almost completely destroying them. But since the 1960s, numerous renovation projects have restored some of the stunning features that once made this palazzo so famous.
Visit the structure to see it for yourself and to learn more about Venice’s noble history and architectural style. Be sure to visit Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro as well to see some lovely works of art, including ceramics, sculptures, and paintings from both the Tuscan and Venetian schools.
5. Gallerie dell’ Accademia
If you enjoy old paintings, you must visit this museum. The majority of Venetian art in existence can be found in the Galleria dell’ Academia. The artwork is from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
The museum has 37 different rooms, 24 of which are on the first floor and 13 of which are on the ground floor. Artworks by Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgio o Zorzi da Castelfranco detto Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini, Hieronymus Bosch, and Johann Liss are among those included.
Did you know that this museum houses one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most significant pieces of art? The Vitruvian Man, a study object for the dimensions and proportions of the human body, is at issue. There are many homes where you can find this painting as a poster, but this museum has the original.
Unfortunately, in order to maintain the calibre of the work, it is not always on display. With such a significant piece of art as this, you definitely want to avoid having it affected by temperature and daylight.
The history of this museum is also intriguing because, despite the fact that many pieces of Venetian art have been exported to other nations (either willingly or unwillingly) or bought and sold on the open market, the collection on display here has been preserved. They were created with student artists in mind as study materials.
6. Lace Museum
Although you might not think to examine lace in great detail, the Burano Lace Museum will teach you more than you could have ever imagined about this beautiful medium. Lace has long been an essential component of design in Venice, despite being more commonly known as a decorative material.
When Napoleon ordered that lace would be used in court ceremonial robes in order to rehire professionals in the field who had lost their jobs, it was even used to aid the economy. You can see some fantastic examples of its many applications, including handkerchief corners and the capes of Carnival costumes.
You can view exquisitely preserved artifacts from the 16th to 20th centuries and learn more about how this medium developed in the city after learning about the various methods used to create various styles of lacework.
You might be able to view the winning submissions from the “Lace for Venice” competition, in which participants create their own works in either contemporary or traditional forms, depending on the time of your visit.
The Burano Lace School once called this place home and taught locals the craft for almost a century, so it only makes sense that the medium is still used in this location.
As an added bonus, Burano, which is frequently referred to as the “most island-like” of all the tiny pieces of land dotting the Venetian lagoons, can be enjoyed after your visit. It has long served as a source of inspiration for artists of all genres due to its beautiful surroundings and serene atmosphere.
After you’ve finished exploring the distinctive features of lace, go for a stroll around the grounds and take it all in. When I went to visit Burano, I also enjoyed strolling and admiring the colourful houses within the lagoon island.
7. Leonardo da Vinci Museum
Leonardo Da Vinci was a true Renaissance man before he became the model for a ninja turtle. He was a scientist, inventor, and artist whose contributions to culture continue to this day.
The Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Venice also houses a beautifully curated collection of his works, despite the fact that he did not reside there. You can see the wide range of Da Vinci’s projects and ideas, as well as how profoundly they influenced each other, by looking at the sections that are loosely themed around the four elements of water, earth, air, and fire.
The machines are the main attractions here. When you examine the intricate prototypes for the various inventions that Da Vinci created, it is clear that he was a man who was centuries ahead of his time.
You can see how sophisticated his designs were as you navigate the various rooms and the broad range of subjects they covered. View replicas of early bicycles, military equipment, flying machines, and bridge designs. All of them work, and some of them you can even try out for yourself! Of course, the museum is full of fascinating exhibits that highlight Da Vinci’s wide-ranging contributions to the arts and sciences.
Enjoy replicas of his most well-known works of art and take in his meticulous anatomical studies, which had a major influence on both the arts and medicine. Visit the multimedia exhibits to learn more about Da Vinci’s various projects, and then head to the bookstore to pick up some books about this fascinating, complex person.
A visit to this museum, whether you’ve been a lifelong fan of Da Vinci or are only now beginning to learn about his work, is sure to spark your creative side.
8. Venetian Arsenal
Venetian Arsenal, also known as Arsenale della Biennale di Venezia, is a modern art gallery housing some of the greatest artists in the world. Every year, millions of art enthusiasts visit Venice for a six-month festival that takes place there. It is conceivably the most significant work of art ever displayed.
There is a display of fresh artwork every year, but more importantly, there are new themes. Past themes have included, among others, theater, dance, music, and architecture. For more information, go to the Biennale’s official website. Both indoors and outside in the Giardini della Biennale, the exhibition is held at the Arsenale della Biennale di Venezia.
Tens of thousands of people devote countless hours of their time to planning this enormous production. You have to go see the Biennale if you’re in Venice at the time.
9. Punta della Dogana
French billionaire François Pinault is a role model for any ambitious businessperson. He was raised in a rural area and launched his timber trading company from a job felling trees for his father. He is currently regarded as one of the world’s top art collectors.
Punta della dogana roughly translates to “customs checkpoint” if you speak Italian. When you leave baggage claim in an airport, you might see the word “dogana.” It’s interesting that the building is situated right at the tip of the Dorsoduro neighborhood, which contributes to the Grand Canal’s entrance. It’s a fantastic spot for a museum with breathtaking views.
Even if you don’t like modern art, I still advise you to go see it because it might make you reconsider. Tadao Ando’s restoration of the whole building is an artistic creation. After your visit, you’ll want to know if you don’t already know who that is.
Next to the museum is the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica which is considered one of the prominent and iconic churches in Venice. I wrote another article about the Beautiful Churches in Venice (Italy) Worth Visiting. I encourage you to read to know more about historical, iconic and spiritual places of faith in Venice.
10. Museo Correr
Museo Correr is a museum with a diverse collection of regional artworks and historical artifacts that features some of the best exhibits the city has to offer. Here, works by Renaissance artists like Andrea Michieli and Lazzaro Bastiani are on display as part of the Venetian Republic’s long history.
The “Napoleonic Wing,” which was constructed over a demolished church and features neo-classical architecture and Empire style decorations, was intended to be the new sovereign’s residence but wasn’t completed until the 19th century, during the Austrian era of rule.
Before becoming the Venetian residence of the King of Italy in 1866, it was used for 38 years as the official residence of the young sovereigns Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, “Sissi.”
There are a lot of historical artifacts on display if you’re looking for them. Along with coins struck as far back as the 9th century and the early years of the republic, this collection also includes topographical instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries. See it all close to San Marco’s center, to the south of Bacino Orseolo.
11. Mondonovo Mask Museum
The Mondonovo Masks Museum, one of the most well-known historical papier-mâché mask shops in Venice, has been completely relocated to Malo, Carnival City, where it now serves as both a museum and a workshop.
The Museum is located on the first floor of the opulent Palazzo Corielli, the name-ancestral family’s home from the eighteenth century, where the Master of Art Guerrino Lovato rebuilt his renowned workshop, transferring 250 works, 500 matrixes, a library and archive, as well as tools, artifacts, and antique furniture.
12. National Archeological Museum
The Public Statuary of the Most Serene Republic of Venice was founded in the late 16th century as a result of donations made by Domenico and Giovanni Grimani, and it has its most distant roots in the founding of the National Archaeological Museum of Venice.
The Statuary was one of the first public museums of ancient art in Europe and was once located in the Antechamber of the Libreria di San Marco (St. Mark Library), which is now the Vestibule of the National Library. For centuries, it was a well-known and frequently visited cultural hub.
It was moved to Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace) in 1812, and it was moved once more to the former Royal Palace’s rooms in the 1920s, where it is still today. Carlo Anti, a professor, was in charge of the original design. Two walls of the Public Statuary inside the National Library’s vestibule underwent renovation in 1997, which was more recently.
Along with the Doge’s Palace, Correr Museum, and National Library of St. Mark’s, the museum, which also houses private collections, is a part of the network of the so-called “musei marciani” (museums of St. Mark’s).
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