The dawn of a new day…

The vivid colours of sunrise light up the day… a new day is thus dawning in Venice. 

The ancient quay of Saint Mark is still deserted. Gondolas are resting in the water-basin in front of the Doge’s Palace colonnade.

In the background, the profile of the island of San Giorgio, with the millennial complex which has seen popes and emperors. 

This is the picture we have chosen for opening this new issue of a Guest in Venice, the little guide which has discreetly been accompanying visitors in town for forty-five years.

Not only… this is an emblematic image for a day opening onto new life. For a normality that we almost forgot during the past year, which was missing in Venice, and throughout the world.

The dreamlike image of a Venice laid bare, stripped of the people who fill its streets, squares and palaces like a vital sap, soon turned into a nightmare.

Today, as we all hope, the difficult moment appears to have passed. 

The city, its institutions and its citizens have started to welcome the world once again, in the manner, grace and beauty that have always been acknowledged in Venice and which have made it for centuries one of the most enlightened republics in history.

Venice starts afresh… from the Biennale 

A fresh start… the most recurrent word today. 

And Venice has demonstrated its wish to start afresh on the field, in these very days.

Hotels, restaurants and commercial businesses (from big brands, to multi-stores) down to the small local crafts shops are open again. 

The museums are also open again, although some are still in a reduced mode. 

But the true driving force behind restarting in town is one, and its name is the Venice Biennale.

In spite of this period’s difficulties, it has continued its tireless (and over one hundred year-old) work as a “cultural engine”, presenting its ample bill-board in these days: from the international Architecture Exhibition to the one on cinematographic Art, known worldwide as the Venice Film Festival.

But this is not all yet, a new start is also arriving from three symbolic locations which the entire history of the city has passed through: the Basilica of Saint Mark, finally open to visitors again after a long time (we are dedicating a few words on visiting it on page 68); the Ducal Palace, the ancient seat of the Doge and of the State magistrates’ offices, whose extraordinary venues are newly open all day to the public (see page 71); and finally the ancient Arsenal, mentioned by Dante Alighieri, visible in these very days for the occasion of the Nautical Salon, the international fair event dedicated to passion for the sea.

Finally, we also wish to offer a positive restart signal from A Guest in Venice, always close since 1977 to the visitor, who was seen as a city “Guest” for the very first time, and not simply as a tourist, by this magazine’s founder, the Golden Keys Association.

In this regard, while still remaining faithful to its “small guide” format and spirit, from this month of June our periodical has changed its design layout into a more agile and modern one. Not only, a Guest in Venice has opened, or at least, has begun to open up to what is taking place beyond town: to the treasures and events within the territory that has always been linked to Venice, from the Brenta river to the Treviso Marches, right up to the Dolomites.Always maintaining two staple aspects: its free distribution and its customary bilingual format.

Definitely not a small effort, but one which we hope the reader will appreciate, indeed, we are sure of it.

We shall close this introduction, a due one in our view, with a few notes on the Architecture Biennale, reminding everyone that information may be found in the following pages about all the events completing the appointments panorama in town and not only, for these current days, and for the coming months.

Spectacular, engaging, unique. Three adjectives with which we wish to define this latest edition of the International Architecture Exhibition, which has had to move its expected date from 2020 to this year, due to the pandemic. 

Open to the public from 22 May and visible until 21 November, it is back for its seventeenth edition following to its classic plan: the great international How will we live together? exhibition developing across five thematic areas, set up between the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and at the Arsenal. It features the attendance of 112 architects from 46 countries, mainly representing Africa, Latin America and Asia. 

The curious How will we play together? project presented at the Forte Marghera venue, dedicated to 5 international architects’ play, is part of its circuit.

Another project for this edition springs from the (now five year-old) collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, presenting the Three British Mosques exhibition at the Pavilion of Applied Arts (Arsenal). 

The thematic exhibition is further flanked by the so-called national Participations, presented in pavilions and venues set up at the Arsenal and in buildings in the historic centre, in addition to the historic pavilions of the Giardini: in total 63 foreign attendances, four of which are present for the first time, Grenada, Iraq, Uzbekistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

This maxi-exhibition is finally rounded off by its collateral Events, projects and exhibitions promoted by international bodies and institutions, 17 in total, spread throughout the urban weft of the city.

Have a nice stay in Venice!

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The dawn of a new day…


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