Venice Architecture City Guide: 15 Historical and Contemporary Attractions to Discover in Italy’s City of Canals
Built on a cluster of 118 small islands in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, the city of Venice, Italy, has captivated the imagination of architects and tourists alike. The area has been inhabited since ancient times, becoming a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as proven through the rich architecture that characterizes the city to this day. With influences from the Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, the city represents a palimpsest of architectural narratives, overlapping and influencing each other. In recent years, Venice has become a major attraction for architects drawn to the La Biennale di Venezia, the most important Architectural Exhibition featuring national pavilions, exhibitions, and events to explore new concepts and architectural innovations.
Beyond the Biennale, Venice itself is an open-air museum for architecture lovers. While the city is best known for its historical buildings, Modernist and contemporary interventions add a new layer of interest, with many contemporary architects working with the historical fabric, like OMA’s intervention and rehabilitation of Fondaco dei Tedeschi, or David Chipperfield’s renovation of Procuratie Vecchie, one of the buildings that define Piazza San Marco. In addition to what the city has to offer, the site of the Venice Biennale is also marked by interventions by famous architects such as Carlo Scarpa, Sverre Fehn, and Alvar Aalto, made permanent due to their outstanding qualities.
Read on to discover 10 architectural attractions in the city of Venice and 5 permanent projects to explore while visiting the Giardini at the International Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Basilica di San Marco / Domenico Contarini
Ca’ d’Oro / Bartolomeo Bon, Giovanni Bon, Matteo Raverti, Marco d’Amadio
Fondazione Querini Stampalia / Carlo Scarpa
Il Fondaco dei Tedeschi / OMA
Ponte della Constituzion / Santiago Calatrava
Porta Nuova Tower / MAP studio Magnani Pelzel Architetti Associati
Punta Della Dogana Museum / Tadao Ando
Olivetti Showroom / Carlo Scarpa
Procuratie Vecchie Restoration / David Chipperfield Architects
The Teatrino of Palazzo Grassi / Tadao Ando
Giardini della Biennale
Giardino delle Sculture per la Biennale di Venezi/ Carlo Scarpa
Nordic Pavilion in Venice / Sverre Fehn
Venezuela Pavilion / Carlo Scarpa
Swiss Pavilion / Bruno Giacometti
Finland Pavilion / Alvar Aalto
You can visit our list of Architecture City Guides.
We invite you to follow ArchDaily’s comprehensive coverage of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023: The Laboratory of the Future.