No city is more ideally suited to hosting a major international art show than Venice. Millions of people throng here to experience its artistic wonders cocooned in an equal number of architectural wonders, while the Art Biennale is never less than a fascinating, if sometimes self-indulgent, counterpoint to acres of Gothic stone and Baroque marble, to innumerable art galleries, masterpieces hung over altars in a congregation of churches and chapels, and a treasury of public sculpture.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appOfficially, the 57th takes place in the former Venetian military dockyard - the Arsenale - and in the national pavilions of the Giardini, although, as usual, there will be many fringe events throughout the city. These encourage visitors to explore both familiar and offbeat parts of the city.
The 2017 Biennale is curated by Christine Macel. Since 2000 she has been Chief Curator at the Musée d’art moderne at the Pompidou Centre, where she established the museum’s contemporary art department. Her theme for Venice is Viva Art Viva, offering, in very French fashion, “a journey from the interiority to infinity” through a sequence of interconnected “Trans-pavilions”.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appEven so, there will be a cornucopia of art on show and a broad palette of artists to meet. Every week throughout the Biennale, artists will invite viewers to an “Open Table” for lunchtime conversations (art, life, the universe; that sort of thing).
Tickets for the main events can be bought online, or, on the day, from booths at the Giardini and Arsenale. A full 48-hour ticket costs €30 (£23). There is a variety of discounts. Few people have the strength to see everything in a single day, and Venice in the September heat is no place to rush.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThe Arsenale is open, except for certain Mondays, from 10am to 8pm and the Giardini, likewise, from 10am to 6pm. The greatest exhibit here, yet again, is the city and its lagoon, which for centuries have inspired the world’s greatest artists.
The Venice Art Biennale, May 13 to November 26 2017. See for tickets
Where to refresh and recover
Located at the far eastern end of island Venice, in an area which is placidly residential at other times of year, the Giardini and Arsenale are far from the city’s main wining and dining districts. But if the generally uninspiring café-style array of food in the Biennale catering areas don’t inspire you, there is some hope just outside.
The Serra dei Giardini () is a café-snack bar inside a magnificent greenhouse in the non-exhibition sector of the Giardini: staff can be brusque but it’s a pleasant place to rest if you can nab a table outside.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appFor some traditional fare with a real spit-and-sawdust neighbourhood feel, the Trattoria dai Tosi (Castello 738, Seco Marina, ) is always a good bet; they serve decent, cheap pizzas in the evening.
Still further east from the Biennale sites, the umbrella pine-filled park in the Sant’Elena district is home to the jolly Vincent Bar (viale IV Novembre 36) which offers a range of salads, filled rolls and simple pasta dishes at pavement tables with a view through the trees to the lagoon.
Busy via Garibaldi is home to several light-lunch eateries. The trendy evening spot is El Refolo (Castello 1583): immediately recognisable by its jumble of high tables and stools outside – and, at Biennale time, by milling crowds awaiting their turn to join the action at this hole-in-the-wall joint, El Refolo serves sandwiches, cold cut and cheese platters, plus good cheap drinks. There are lots more suggestions in the Telegraph's guide to Venice's best restaurants.
Restaurant recommendations by Anne Hanley
Modern art in Venice
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appVenice may be synonymous with Grand Masters such as Titian and Tintoretto but its modern and contemporary art offerings are as numerous as they are impressive. Many of the greats of the 20th century can be seen at the charming Peggy Guggenheim Collection ().
Contemporary art hubs Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana (for both see ) should also be busy throughout the Biennale.