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Best Museums in Venice

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Layer upon layer of differing architectural styles come together to form the magnificent Doge's Palace. A symbol of the Venetian government and political heritage, the historic palace was once the seat of the Doge, the chief magistrate of the former Republic of Venice. The foundations of the complex were laid during the 14th Century. Through the years, the palace was repeatedly reconstructed, extended and restored, creating a mix of artistic and architectural styles ranging from the Medieval to the Renaissance. A masterpiece of Gothic design, the palace is replete with exquisite details like sculptures, frescoes, arches and graceful columns. The original Doge's Apartments, the Armory, the Prisons, the Courtyard and Loggias have all been beautifully restored, with numerous hidden treasures around every corner. This historic icon also houses the Museo dell'Opera and its extensive art collection.

Just around the corner from the Galleria dell'Accademia, on the Grand Canal is one of Venice's premier museums. This world-famous museum is run by the same institution, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, that manages the renowned Guggenheim Museum in New York. Peggy Guggenheim, was interested in contemporary art and came into contact with various artists who guided and educated her, including Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp. This museum houses her collection of contemporary art such as works by Bacon, Balla, Brancusi and Chagall. You'll also find masterpieces by the likes of De Chirico, Kandinsky, Klee, El Lissitskj, Magritte, Man Ray, Picasso and Pollock.

Housed in the stately Fontego dei Turchi that was built in the 13th Century, Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia is a truly enlightening museum and was established in 1923. You'll find fossils, minerals, botanical collections, entomological collections, protozoa, mollusks and all kinds of vertebrates on display spanning 700 million years. This natural history museum also features an archaeology, anatomy and other repositories. Check out the scientific library, Cetaceans Gallery and other interesting exhibitions that are educational. Also noteworthy is their extensive bibliotheca that is a reference point for those interested in natural sciences. This Grand Canal museum is a great alternative to other historic museums in town.

Located in the old church and school of the Carità, Galleria dell'Accademia's building was partly built in the 12th Century and finished in the 14th Century. The Academy of Fine Arts was started here by the Napoleonic government. In its 24 rooms, it displays works of Italian art, by artists such as Andrea Mantegna, Piero Della Francesca, Cosmè Tura, and Giovanni Bellini. Other artists include Giorgione, Tintoretto, Paris Bordone and Moretto Da Brescia among others.

There is a silent and almost respectful ambiance in this museum. Visitors enter Museo Correr by means of a staircase, originally built as a grand entrance to the Napoleonic Wing. From here, the tour continues through neoclassical rooms, the Royal Palace, the Canoviana Collection, Venetian Civilization, Antique Art, and Renaissance Bronze. There are many sculptures by Canova and decorative objects by Francesco Hayez. Venezia by Jacopo De' Barbari can be admired in the entrance.

What today is Museo Fortuny was once the house of Mariano Fortuny, friend and colleague of D'Annunzio. He was a set designer, inventor, fabric manufacturer and photographer of Catalan origin and transformed this former Gothic palace like a theatre set. It is a vision of furnishings, objects, textiles and ornaments from the beginning of the last century. Admire beautiful paintings, photographs, fabrics and light fixtures. It is open only when the temporary exhibitions are on, but is worth a visit.

Galleria d'Arte Moderna-Cà Pesaro offers international art of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Amongst the exhibits here are works by Ciardi, Favretto, Klee, Arp, and Kandinsky. You'll also find works by Ernst, Mirò and Calder. Housed in the magnificent Baroque marble palace, Ca' Pesaro, it features 11 rooms dedicated to paintings, sculptures and graphic art. Originally opened as an exhibition of avant-garde works, it now displays mostly Italian artists as well as foreign artists.

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