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The Venice Insider
A travel guide for frequent visitors to Venice.
A travel guide for frequent visitors to Venice.

The Venice Insider's posts

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Christine Macel, the curator of the Art Biennale, pays a lot of attention to the experience of the visitors. In combination with her focus on the artists, she decided to organize the 'Tavola aperta' (Open table), where the visitors can talk with an artist at lunch.

This is only one example of the new inititatives of this year. More information on these initiatives, the history of the Art Biennale, curator Christine Macel and the theme Viva Arte Viva can be found in this post.

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The Art Biennale has been open for a week now and the reviews of the first visitors are very positive. I will continue to publish previews of the pavilions in the weeks to come.

The latest one is 'Tomorrow is Another Day' at the pavilion of the United States from artist Mark Bradford. Not only does he show beautiful work but he's also working with the social cooperative Rio Terà dei Pensieri. This organization provides employment opportunities to male and female prisoners in Venice.

These prisoners will create artisanal goods and other products to support their re-integration into society. Even if you're not visiting the Biennale, you can buy their goods at a store located in San Polo 2559a.

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NEW: 9 insider tips to escape the crowds in Venice

Did you ever feel overwhelmed, or annoyed, by the crowds in the center of Venice? I know I have and I'm sure you recognize this feeling.

Contrary to what you might think, this does not prevent you from visiting the city in peace and quiet. There are plenty of things to see all over the city, which are as beautiful and less crowded. You will enjoy your trip much more and really value the beauty of Venice.

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If you are planning to visit Venice in the coming weeks, you can watch 2 traditional boat parades: the Festa della Sensa and the Vogalonga. They are quite different, but both are very beautiful to watch.

May 28: The Festa della Sensa is an ancient celebration of the relationship between Venice and the sea. The highlight is a symbolic wedding ceremony, in which a golden ring is thrown into the sea. The celebration includes a large procession at sea, headed by the Serenissima boat in which mayor Luigi Brugnaro takes on the traditional role of the Doge. It is followed by colorful parade boats from the rowing associations of Venice.

June 4: The Vogalonga regata is a non-competitive race where rowers in all types of colorful boats, from canoes to dragon boats, take over the lagoon and canals. The race is a protest against the growing use of powerboats in Venice and the damage they do to the historic city. It already exists since 1975, so even before the huge cruise ships entered the lagoon.

More details can be found on the site of Turismo Città di Venezia or in this article

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On Friday, the European Commission (Creative Europe) adopted the proposal to make 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The goal is to:
encourage people to explore Europe's rich and diverse cultural heritage,
celebrate, understand and protect its unique value,
reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in all our lives.

The project will emphasise:
how cultural heritage builds stronger societies,
how it creates jobs and prosperity,
its importance for our relations with the rest of the world,
what can be done to protect it.

Venice and its cultural heritage certainly fit into several of these categories. Attached you find an article which I wrote about the financing of cultural heritage in Venice. I will update it in the coming weeks (e.g. with Save Venice). If you have any other examples which you think fit into the 2018 Year of Cultural Heritage, I would love to hear about them.


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The preview days of the Art Biennale are ongoing, which means that my social media are flooded with stunning pictures. I have mixed feelings about this as I would have loved to be there (but unfortunately couldn't make it), but when I see the queues and crowds, I know I will have a much better and more relaxed view on the art works.

Based on what I have read so far, here's my current top 10 of pavilions which I really want to see:

- Australia: beautiful pictures by Tracey Moffatt
- Belgium: dark and intriguing photography of Dirk Braeckman
- Catalonia: Venice transformed for the blind and visually impaired
- France: the music studio of Xavier Veihlan
- Grenada: the stunning sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor
- Korea: the neon entrance of Cody Choi and Wan Lee
- New Zealand: the panoramic video of Lisa Reihana
- Scotland: a 'fake news' story of Pinochio by Rachel Maclean
- Tunisia: get a freesa (travel document) from The Absence of Paths
- United States: colourful paintings and installation by Mark Bradford

In two weeks time, after I've visited the Art Biennale myself, I will be able to tell you if this is my final top 10 or if there are any other pavilions which are even better than these.

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Carlo Scarpa is an important Venetian architect from the 20th century. He is less known outside the architectural world, but I'm sure you have seen some of his work, maybe without realizing it.

My favourite is La Partigiana near Giardini. It's a bronze sculpture of a woman with her hands tied, lying in the water of the lagoon. It represents the women of the resistance and was created by Augusto Murer. The base was designed by Carlo Scarpa and dates from 1961. It is made from concrete with copper plates, and is surrounded by an irregular field of concrete stones with varying heights.

What is your favourite Scarpa work? Discover a walk around Venice in his steps at

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NEW: How to prepare your visit to the Art Biennale 2017 in Venice

Next week, Venice will be flooded by the press and art critics for the preview days of the Art Biennale. As from Saturday, this major contemporary art exhibition opens its doors for everyone. The 2017 edition runs from May 13 until November 26.

The event is spread across two main locations (Giardini and Arsenale) and different venues in and around Venice. There are so many things to do and see that you are bound to make some choices, unless you have the luxury to dedicate at least a full week to the Art Biennale.

This post will help you decide how to make the most out of your visit and which parts of the Art Biennale are most interesting for you.

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Are you still looking for a present for Mother's Day?

You still have a few days before you have to surprise her, so that leaves you enough time to order a beautiful gift online and have it shipped with express delivery.

In this article, I have listed 10 ideas which can give you some inspiration. You can choose between decoration, books, a personal travel plan, toys, models and jewellery. Some of these can be personalized, while others support a good cause.

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As from next week, many art lovers will be visiting the Art Biennale in Venice.

Curator Christine Macel chose the theme ‘Viva Arte Viva’, which puts the artists at the forefront of the exhibition, and not only the art. She also pays a lot of attention to the visitor experience and the interaction between artists and visitors.

With 120 artists at the Viva Arte Viva exhibition, 84 national participations, 23 collateral events and plenty of coinciding exhibitions, it looks like it will be a very intriguing fusion of contemporary art.

Do you already have your mind set on a specific pavilion or exhibition?

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