Museums in Venice

Even though there is a very famous, spectacular  and rich history associated to Venice, I have to say that the offering of museums in Venice does not reflect this fact satisfactorily. Especially disappointing for me is the little content reflecting the history of Venice as European trade power and therefore also naval power. Nevertheless, there are still very interesting possibilities to dive into cultural excitements in museums in Venice, especially in the fields of architecture (namely the palaces) and art (old to contemporary).

Here is a pretty comprehensive list of museums in Venice which I compiled.

Peggy Guggenheim Museum Venice

Peggy Guggenheim Museum Venice

1. Peggy Guggenheim
Located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home in Venice on the Grand Canal, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is among the important museums in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. Opened in 1980, it represents the personal collection of Peggy comprising surrealism, Italian futurism, and abstract expressionism. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which also operates the other Guggenheim museums in New York, Bilbao and Berlin. Berlin.
There is a sculpture garden and an international art bookstore which rounds up the visiter’s experience.

Palazzo Grassi Venice

Palazzo Grassi Venice

2. Palazzo Grassi
Giorgio Massari’s 1749 neoclassical palace has become a glorious anachronism in the hands of minimalist architect Tadao Ando, whose movable panels, backlit scrims, and strategic pools of light allow viewers to focus on illuminating art and ideas without eclipsing frescoed ceilings and marble arcades. Expect sublime curation and shameless name-dropping: Pinault regularly parks sculpture by the likes of Jeff Koons on the dock out front, and in 2009 celebrated his marriage with Salma Hayek at the Grassi among A-list guests Bono, Charlize Theron, Ed Norton and Javier Bardem. You’ll see more constellations of contemporary art stars at the PuntadellaDogana, ancient customs houses renovated by Ando and relaunched in 2009 as a permanent showcase for Pinault’s collection of more than 2000 artworks.

3. Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
The Foundation was founded following the resolution passed by the Comune di Venezia Council board on March 3rd 2008 with the objective of managing and developing the full potential of the immense cultural and artistic heritage of the Musei Civici di Venezia. The 11 museums included in the Fondazione Musei Cividi di Venezia are the following:

The Doge's palace in Venice

The Doge’s palace in Venice

•    The Doge’s Palace
Doge’s Palace is the former residence of the Doges and the former seat of the Venetian government. The building is very impressive, located right in the center at Piazza San Marco, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and very impressive on the inside as well through works of famous Venetian artists like Tintoretto, Titian and Tiepolo.

•    The Museo Correr
The museum offers collection that Teodoro Correr donated to the city in 1830, including works  by Bellini, Carpaccio and Canova.

•    The Clock tower
The Clock tower is over five hundred years old, located on the Piazza San Marco and marking the entrance to the Piazza or vice verse into the main shopping street of Venice, the . On the tower there is a very nice looking large astronomical clock.

•    Ca’ Rezzonico-Museum of 18th-Century Venice
This museum is a palazzo with 18th century interior as well as beautiful paintings, including masterpieces from Tiepolol.

•    Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo as well as the Study Centre for the history of textiles and costumes
This museum also is a palazzo with 18th century interior as well as beautiful paintings but also costumes and textiles. The palazzo’s importance is underlined by the fact that it housed the Mocenigo family, from which not less than seven dsoges emerged (from the 15th to the 18th century).

•    Carlo Goldoni’s house and Theatrical Library
Carlo Goldoni was an Italian playwright and librettist who lived in the 18th century. His works include some of today’s most famous plays in Italy. Check out this link for more information about him:  In this unique Gothic Palazzo work of Carlo Goldoni from the 18th century is shown, also an originally old puppet theater.

•    Ca’ Pesaro -International Gallery of Modern Art and Oriental Art Museum*
The Gallery is housed in Palazzo Pesaro, the most important baroque palace in the city, built in the second half of the 17th century, the works by Kandinsky, Rodin, Matisse, Klee and others.  The Palazzo was built by Baldassarre Longhena, who is seen as the greatest Venetian baroque architect. Works stretched over 60 years starting in 1659.

•    Museo Fortuny
Once owned by the Pesaro family, this Gothic palazzo was transformed by Mr. Fortuny into his own atelier. The Museo Fortuny houses tapestries, painting, light, photography, textiles and grand garments, all connected to Mariano Fortuny. Mariano Fortuny was a Spanish fashion designer in the first half of the 20th century. Please read more about him here. His legacy lives on in the company which carries his name:

•    Murano’s famous Glass Museum
When you are in Murano, do not miss the Glass Murseum. It is within the prestigious Palazzo Giustiniani and holds a rich collection of Murano glasses and chandeliers. The origins of the pieces shown embrace works from the 15th to 20th century.
After the abolishment of the autonomous Municipality Murano in 1923, the Glass Museum became part of the Venice Civic Museums.

•    The Lace Museum
The museum exhibits rare and valuable specimens that offer a complete overview of the historical and artistic events of Venetian lace and the lagoon, from its origin to the present day. The museum is located at the historic palace of Podestà of Torcello, in Piazza Galuppi, Burano, seat of the famous Burano Lace School from 1872 to 1970. Rare and precious pieces offer a complete overview of the history and artistry of the Venetian and lagoon’s laces

•    Museum of Natural History
Located at the Grand Canal, it is a true scientific institution with a collection spanning zoological, botanical collections, fossils, ethnographical items. In addition it hosts a significant library with over 40,000 books. The Museum was set up in 1923 to house various local scientific collections, including the Museo Correr.

4. Fondazione Cini
The Giorgio Cini Foundation is a non-profit cultural institution based in Venice, Italy. It was constituted by Vittorio Cini with the aim of restoring the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore (devastated after 100 years of military occupation) and of creating an international cultural centre that would re-integrate the Island into the life of Venice.

«The Giorgio Cini Foundation’s mission is to promote the redevelopment of the monumental complex on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore and encourage the creation and development of educational, social, cultural and artistic institutions in its surrounding territory.»

The importance of this undertaking was borne out by the initial investment committed to rehabilitate the Island and by the many events the Foundation has promoted or hosted since. It is further substanstiated by the cultural patrimony conserved on the Island and, since 1984, at the Gallery of Palazzo Cini at San Vio.

The Giorgio Cini Foundation is located on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. The Fondacione Cini has several locations and consists of the Monumental complex, the Exhibition centre, the Teatro Verde, the Palazzo Cini and the Borges Labyrinth.

The Teatro Verde, built in the 1950s with materials left over from the Island restoration, is an amphiteatre inspired to ancient teatri di verzura (vegetable theatres), featuring stepped rows of white Vicenza stone divided by box-hedges, in the heart of San Giorgio Maggiore park.

On the north-eastern side of the Island, a major restoration work has been carried out on the former warehouse building constructed at the turn of the 19th century for the free port on the island. In 2008 a new exhibition centre of over 1,000 square metres was created.

Oustide the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Giorgio Cini Foundation has another prestigious location: Palazzo Cini at San Vio, the 16th-century Venetian Palace overlooking the Grand Canal that used to be home to Vittorio Cini and his family. Palazzo Cini at San Vio Piano Nobile features permanent collections of notorious Tuscan and Ferrarese paintings.

5. Polo Museale Veneziano
The Polo Museale Veneziano comprises five museums. Let me highlight the one I can suggest, namely the Gallerie dell’ Accademia.

Gallerie dell' Accademia Venice

Gallerie dell’ Accademia Venice

Gallerie dell’Accademia

When wandering around the island, plan to stop at Gallerie dell’Accademia. It is right in the middle of the island when you get the feeling you should stop and reflect where you are. At first glance it does not seem very appealing, but once you are there, you will be glad for the opportunity to stop. The museum is located in a very impressive palazzo, with the church of Santa Maria and the monastery of Canonici Lateranensi being integrated into it. It is a monumental estate which will surprise you by heart once you are there.

The Gallerie dell’ Accademia comprises paintings from artists which include Tintoretto, Tiziano, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Longhi. It is a very rich collection.
Apart from the paintings of these fascinating artists and the impressive building and
rooms, I especially liked the view from the upper floor on the busy Canale Grande.
•    Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ D’oro
•    Museo D’Arte Orientale
•    Museo Archeologico Nazionale
•    Museo di Palazzo Grimani

Museo Navale Storico Venice

Museo Navale Storico Venice

6. Museo Navale Storico
The Venice Naval History Museum is located west of San Marco square just a short walk away on the seashore. It is right on the way towards the Arsenale. The main entrance to the museum is flanked by two big anchors from Austrian First World War battleships.

The collection shows models of different ships, including the impressive model of the Bucintoro, the Doge’s ceremonial ship. Also nice to look at, are the models of some Dalmatian cities. Overall, the museum is not living up to its expectations, but still the best to see about the naval history of the city.


This concludes my list of museums and things to do in Venice. Enjoy exploring. If you like my post or have any suggestions I should add, please leave a comment below.