Venice has a stable presence on this corner of the Internet, and it is no secret that it is one of my favorite cities in the world. With its labyrinthine canals and storied past, it is renowned as a bastion of artistic inspiration and a thriving hub for contemporary art, especially in relation to its world-famous Biennale. And while we wait for the next edition to open in April, I decided to offer you a glimpse into the local art scene, through the work of four of my favorite galleries in the Lagoon city. 

As you traverse the iconic bridges and narrow alleyways of Venice, take a moment to visit the galleries the city offers. Whether you find yourself captivated by minimalist works or boundary-pushing exhibitions, Venice and its galleries promise a captivating journey through the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary artistry. After all, if one of the most important international art events takes place in this exact same city, there has to be a local scene that is not only thriving but beyond inspiring and supportive. 

So, embrace the spirit of exploration and uncover the diverse tapestry of creativity that awaits amidst the timeless beauty of La Serenissima.

Giulio Malinverni. Il dormiente nella valle – Installation view | Photo Marignana Arte

1. Marignana Arte: A Sanctuary for Contemporary Expression

Nestled amidst the winding streets of Venice’s historic center, within walking distance of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Punta della Dogana, and Fondazione Vedova, Marignana Arte stands as a beacon of contemporary expression. Opened in 2013 from a project by Emanuela Fadalti and Matilde Cadenti, the gallery’s program explores various expressions of contemporary artistic research, paying attention both to the proposals of new generations and to the enhancement of artists already established in the international arena. Marignana Arte is also engaged in international collaborations that include projects with both private and public institutions. From thought-provoking installations to boundary-pushing exhibitions, Marignana Arte invites visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of contemporary artistry.

Since 2021, the gallery added two new projects to its offer, consisting of the exhibition spaces in Dorsoduro: Spazio Berlendis, in the Cannaregio district of Venice, and the Marignana Arte Studio, in Mogliano Veneto.

Marignana Arte
Dorsoduro, 141, Rio Terà dei Catecumeni – Venice 
Info and opening hours:

Michael Höpfner. Unfinished Walks – Installation view | Photo Galleria Michela Rizzo

2. Galleria Michela Rizzo: Pushing the Boundaries of Creativity

Located on the Giudecca island of Venice, Galleria Michela Rizzo is synonymous with pushing the boundaries of creativity. Since its opening in 2004 in a small venue, the gallery has intended to breathe new life into the contemporary Venetian cultural scene, mainly dominated by commercial art galleries. In 2013 the gallery eventually settled in the former breweries on Giudecca island, and since then it has been an active protagonist of Venice’s cultural scene. The gallery produces a high-profile program through in-home exhibitions, partnerships with major local and foreign museums and institutions, and collaborations with historical, established, and emerging artists. The strength of Galleria Michela Rizzo lies in the synergy between Venetian roots and international connections, and its mission is to constantly raise the bar in the Italian cultural offer, providing a platform for artists who question the great topics of our time. Whether showcasing experimental installations or collaborative ventures, Galleria Michela Rizzo serves as a catalyst for dialogue and discovery within the art world.

Galleria Michela Rizzo
Fondamenta S. Biagio, 800/q, 30133 Venezia VE
Info and opening hours:

Maeve Brennan and Sophie Jung. Broken in Three Places – Installation view | Photo A plus A Gallery

3. A plus A Gallery: Fostering Dialogue and Experimentation

Tucked away in a charming narrow street, near the iconic Accademia Bridge and just steps away from Palazzo Grassi, A plus A Gallery is yet another example of the diverse environment contemporary art galleries in Venice offer. Dedicat­ed to experimenting with new exhibition formats and promoting artists in the production of exhibi­tions and projects, the gallery offers conceptual and aesthetical excellence combined with craft and a forward-thinking approach. The former Slovenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale from 1998 to 2014, the gallery offers a diverse program, with well-curated exhibitions, nurturing emerging talent and promoting cross-cultural exchange. But the gallery also serves as a dynamic platform for emerging curators from around the globe, thanks to their School for Curatorial Studies Venice and the annual Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts, welcoming students from around the world.
With its convenient position and a great program, this gallery is a must-visit while in Venice, between a visit to Palazzo Grassi, a photo taken from the beautiful Accademia Bridge, and a spritz cocktail in the nearby Campo Santo Stefano. 

A plus A Gallery
Calle Malipiero, 3073, 30124 Venezia VE
Info and opening hours:

Sophie Franza. L’Établi – Installation view | Photo Marina Bastianello Gallery

4. Marina Bastianello Gallery: A Hidden Gem in Mestre

Last but not least, Marina Bastianello Gallery is a double space (with a side project) that I am sure will fascinate every art lover.

Venturing beyond the confines of Venice’s historic center, Marina Bastianello Gallery has her primary space in Mestre and offers a compelling contrast to the city’s art scene. Opened in October 2012, the gallery chose Mestre with a desire to invest in this city, considered a cultural incubator with strong potential. Since 2018 the gallery has changed location, moving within the retail area of ​​M9 – Museo del ‘900, right in the heart of Mestre. The gallery almost exclusively represents artists born in the 80s, following them step by step and thus building a cultural hub for emerging talents, becoming a point of reference also for curators sensitive to future artists. In recent years the gallery has worked with national institutions and museums, and takes part in national and international contemporary art fairs, with the constant aim of promoting its artists. 

Since 2023, Marina Bastianello Gallery has expanded into Venice, with a second exhibition space in the historical area of Cannaregio. If Mestre is a fertile ground for cultural incubation, this second space marks a phase of full maturation, maintaining an essential common thread between the two galleries.

Lastly, Marina Bastianello also promotes LAMB, a project space dedicated to artistic research. LAMB is the fusion of Lab and Marina Bastianello, and it is configured as an alternative platform for emerging artists, and experimentation is at the center of their practice. 

Marina Bastianello Gallery
Via Giovanni Pascoli 9/C @M9, Mestre – Venezia
Cannaregio 1865 A – Venezia

Chiostro M9 – Museo del ‘900, via Giovanni Pascoli 9, Mestre – Venezia 

Info and opening hours:

Cover image by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash