The 10 best art museums in Venice you shouldn't miss

Art lover? You have to check out these amazing art museums when you visit Venice. From the Renaissance to modern masterpieces, these galleries have it all.

When you think of Venice, what comes to mind? Most people dream of hot summer days enjoying the lagoon breeze and delicious food at a charming canalside bar. You may also think of romantic adventures in Venice, like cuddling up in a gondola. But for many, Venice’s art galleries and museums are also high on the agenda.

Venice is the ideal destination for anyone interested in art and culture. Many museums focus on Renaissance masterpieces from the glory days of the Republic of Venice. Others have thrilling modern classics, with works by Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Take your pick of the best art museums in Venice to see them all.

Best art museums in Venice

photo: bookfinch

1. See Picasso and Jackson Pollock at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Venice's glory days were in the Renaissance era, but the city isn't stuck in the past. Check out the world of 20th-century art at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which has one of the finest collections of modern art in Europe. In the evocative surroundings of a Venetian palace, this gallery is sure to capture your imagination.

Highlights:

Go through the major art movements of the 20th century and look for works by Picasso, Pollock, Magritte, and Miró.

Address and opening hours:

Dorsoduro 701-704, 30123 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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2. Go back to the days of the Renaissance at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

If you want to focus on Italian art, then head straight for the Gallerie dell'Accademia. This masterful museum has a particular emphasis on Venice's home-grown heroes, with works by great masters like Tiepolo, Titian, and Bellini.

Highlights:

Visitors to the Gallerie dell'Accademia often want to see Leonardo da Vinci's “Vitruvian Man.” Other highlights include the enormous 43-foot wide “Feast in the House of Levi” by Veronese.

Address and opening hours:

Calle della Carità 1050, 30123 Venice. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:15 AM-7:15 PM, and Monday, 8:15 AM-2:00 PM.

3. See where art meets religion at the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista

Italian art has always been deeply entwined with the Catholic faith. This can be clearly seen at the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, the headquarters of the Renaissance brotherhood, which created much of the beautiful art and architecture you can see around Venice. The building is a Baroque masterpiece, and the works on display are even more impressive.

Highlights:

This building is an intriguing piece of art history. Don't miss the religious displays, which include relics of the True Cross.

Address and opening hours:

San Polo 2454, 30125 Venice. Open Sunday-Monday, 9:30 AM-1:00 PM and 2:00 PM-5:30 PM. Closed Tuesday-Saturday.

photo: fusion-of-horizons

Feel like a Renaissance aristocrat at the Fondazione Querini

4. Feel like a Renaissance aristocrat at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Many of Venice's old aristocratic palaces have been transformed into museums and galleries. Among them, the finest is the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, where you can see artworks from the 14th to the 20th century. Of course, there's an emphasis on the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the heyday of the Republic of Venice.

Highlights:

Spend a few hours exploring the works by Bellini, Tiepolo, and Vecchio. There's also a delightful secret garden, in which you'll feel like a true Venetian aristocrat.

Address and opening hours:

Campo Santa Maria Formosa 5252, 30122 Venice. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

Best design museums in Venice

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5. Explore one of history's greatest minds at the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum

The designs on display at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum are all the product of a single, brilliant mind. While there are not many Da Vinci originals on display, there are painstaking wooden replicas of his designs. Check out his eclectic range of inventions and ideas.

Highlights:

Many of the exhibits here are hands-on, allowing you to play with the devices and see how they worked. This makes it ideal for curious children with an interest in mechanics.

Address and opening hours:

Scoletta di San Rocco, Campo San Rocco 3052, 30125 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:45 PM.

photo: Sandor Somkuti

6. See a world of delicate wonders at the Glass Museum

Venice's Murano Island is known across the world for its creative glassware. This traditional art is still alive and well, and you can see modern and historic displays at the Glass Museum. You'll marvel at the craftsmanship behind these fragile pieces.

Highlights:

You'll find an incredible world of glassware at the Glass Museum. The exquisite, incredibly delicate jewelry is particularly impressive.

Address and opening hours:

Fondamenta Marco Giustinian 8, 30141 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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7. See a lost art at the Lace Museum

Another traditional Venetian art is lace making, and you can see it at its finest at the Lace Museum. This craft may be dying elsewhere in the world, but these exquisite, handmade pieces of lace are still cherished works of art here.

Highlights:

Lacemakers still use the Lace Museum as their workshop. Seeing these skilled women at work gives you a remarkable chance to look at art in action.

Address and opening hours:

Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi 187, 30142 Venice. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

Alternative museums in Venice

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8. Discover Japanese and modern art at Ca' Pesaro

Tired of the Renaissance? For something totally different, try the Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art. This strikingly different gallery has a collection of works from around the world, particularly East Asian countries like Japan.

Highlights:

You'll find some works here by great 20th-century masters, but the true highlight is the Japanese section. Don't miss the incredible displays of Samurai armor.

Address and opening hours:

Santa Croce 2076, 30135 Venice. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.

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9. Marvel at the world of toys at the Creature di Gomma Exhibition

Are toys a form of art? If you don't think so, a visit to the Creature di Gomma Exhibition will change your mind. With more than 6,000 pieces on display, this is Europe's largest vintage toy collection.

Highlights:

Visiting Creature di Gomma Exhibition offers more than just the chance for vintage toy nostalgia. You'll see how toys and cartoon characters have evolved around the world in this fascinating museum.

Address and opening hours:

Calle de la Vida 2390A, 30125 Venice. Open Monday-Sunday, 10:30 AM-7:00 PM.

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10. See where art and the environment meet at Ocean Space

Rising sea levels are putting the floating city in danger of sinking, so Venetians are particularly eco-conscious. The Ocean Space Museum is a reflection of this. At this unique, innovative museum, you'll see ocean-inspired displays of modern art, all with an emphasis on preserving the environment.

Highlights:

Ocean Space is constantly changing its exhibits, which include photography, video, and unique installations. Check before visiting to see what's on.

Address and opening hours:

Campo San Lorenzo 5069, 30122 Venice. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

FAQs

Are there any free-entry days for art museums in Venice?

Yes. All state-owned museums are free on the first Sunday of the month, so plan your trip carefully and prepare for long lines.

What are some unique and lesser-known art museums worth visiting in Venice?

Venice has many small, interesting art galleries. Try the modern Ca' Pesaro gallery or the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, which is inside an incredibly luxurious old Venetian palace.

Which art museums in Venice have works by famous artists?

Many art museums in Venice have works by famous artists. In particular, the Gallerie della'Accademia has works by great Italian masters like da Vinci and Titian, while the Peggy Guggenheim has international 20th-century artists, including Picasso and Jackson Pollock.

Are the art museums in Venice wheelchair accessible?

Yes. The major art museums in Venice are all wheelchair accessible, and so are the Vaporetto water buses.

Are there any art museums in Venice that are suitable for children and families?

The Creature di Gomma exhibit is particularly good for families, with its emphasis on vintage toys.