Exploring a new place, whether it's a city, town, or country, offers the enchanting opportunity to delve into its culture and history. From unraveling local customs and festivities to delving into pivotal historical events that have shaped its identity, immersing oneself in the essence of an unfamiliar destination is truly unparalleled. And what better way to embark on this journey of discovery than by visiting its museums?
Venice, renowned as the City of Canals, boasts a wealth of museums, showcasing some of Italy’s most captivating collections. Below, you'll find a curated list of the Top 10 Museums in Venice that deserve a spot on your itinerary for your next excursion.
Additionally, discover everything you need to know about the Venice Museum Pass in the bonus section at the end of this post!
5 Must-See Works of Art Venice
1Porta della Carta
The main entrance of the Doge’s Palace, styled in the Gothic architecture, is known as the ‘Porta della Carta,’ translating to the "Paper Gate." Crafted by Giovanni Bon and Bartolomeo Bon, this entrance stands as a striking masterpiece, setting the stage for your entire experience within the Doge’s Palace. Positioned between the Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, the Porta della Carta features a sculpture depicting Francesco Foscari kneeling before the lion of St. Mark, crowning the grand entrance with its majestic presence.
2Chamber of the Council of Ten
The Chamber of the Council of Ten, known as the 'Sala del Maggior Consiglio,' stands as the most majestic and expansive hall within the Doge’s Palace. Accommodating up to a thousand individuals, it served as the gathering place for Venetian patrician families to deliberate the affairs of the Republic. Adorned with fading frescoes depicting the seventy-six Doges of Venice, visitors can also admire Tintoretto's masterpiece, 'Paradiso,' purportedly the largest canvas painting globally!
3Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’
In July 1943, Peggy Guggenheim commissioned Jackson Pollock to paint a mural-scale canvas for the first floor entrance of the building. This artwork is called the ‘Mural’ and now occupies pride of place at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum in Venice. Measuring twenty-three feet wide and six feet high, Pollock’s ‘Mural’ would be the artist’s largest painting ever made. From long arching strokes and swirls to passages where Pollock flicked or speckled his pigment on the canvas, this technique would soon develop into the celebrated ‘pouring’ technique that Pollock is known for.
4Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’
The 'Vitruvian Man' by Leonardo Da Vinci stands as the epitome of global renown, a masterpiece you simply cannot overlook. Housed within the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, this iconic creation emerged during Leonardo's time in Milan. It depicts the principles outlined by Vitruvius, asserting the human body's supreme perfection and its mathematical verifiability. Despite its significance, it's crucial to note that Da Vinci's 'Vitruvian Man' isn't permanently exhibited at the Gallerie dell’Accademia due to its extreme delicacy and susceptibility to fading.
5Veronese’s ‘Feast in the House of Levi’
Veronese's masterpiece, 'Feast in the House of Levi,' graces the halls of the Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice, solidifying its status as one of the most celebrated works of the Italian Renaissance. Spanning a colossal forty-three feet in width, it commands room number ten within the museum. Renowned for its monumental architecture, meticulous detail, and captivating chaos, this painting is a must-see during your visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice!
10 Best Museums in Venice
#1 Doge's Palace
Architectural Marvel in Venice
Arguably one of Venice's most iconic landmarks, Doge's Palace stands as a magnificent testament to 14th-century grandeur. Once the abode of the Doge of Venice, the highest-ranking elected official, and the epicenter of governance, this architectural marvel epitomizes traditional Venetian Gothic design. Positioned elegantly along the Grand Canal, Palazzo Ducale captivates visitors with its exterior allure and the captivating Porta della Carta entrance, adorned with intricate statues and figures.
Venturing inside reveals a world of opulence and artistry. Massive staircases, opulent gilded ceilings, and walls adorned with masterpieces create an atmosphere of awe. The palace's permanent collection boasts a wealth of mesmerizing sculptures, paintings, and frescoes, inviting visitors to lose themselves for hours. Among its renowned chambers are the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, Sala dello Scrutinio, and Sala del Senato, each a testament to Venice's rich cultural heritage.
Doge's Palace Highlights
- Puerta della Carta
- Foscari Arch
- Giant Staircase or ‘Scale dei Giganti’
- Golden Staircase or ‘Scala d’Oro’
- Chamber of the Council of Ten or the ‘Sala del Maggior Consiglio’
Recommended Doge's Palace Tickets
Doge's Palace Reviews
We loved our day at doge's palace. The fast lane was actual fast, the palace is a spectacular place and on top the grandiose Anselm Kiefer experience. Venice at its best!
- Marion, Headout, November 2022
It was wise to book the tickets in advance. We could skip the line. We enjoyed the exhibition- it was fabulous. Highly recommended
- Prof, Headout, September 2022
#2 Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Most Important Museums in Italy
Venice, often hailed as a masterpiece in its own right, captivates with its idyllic canals, charming bridges, intricately designed architecture, and cobblestone pathways. This enchanting ambiance has long inspired some of history's most celebrated artists, whose works immortalize the city's allure. Situated within Venice, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection stands as a testament to modern art's magnificence, boasting a remarkable assembly of masterpieces by luminaries such as Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jackson Pollock, and Max Ernst. Curated from the private collection of American heiress Peggy Guggenheim, the museum finds its home in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an elegant 18th-century palace once inhabited by Guggenheim herself. Drawing in approximately 400,000 visitors annually, the collection ranks as Venice's second most frequented attraction, surpassed only by the grandeur of the Doge’s Palace.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection Highlights
- Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’
- René Magritte’s ‘Empire of Light’
- Salvador Dalí’s ‘Birth of Liquid Desires’
- Vasily Kandinsky’s ‘Upward’
- Pablo Picasso’s ‘On the Beach’
Recommended Peggy Guggenheim Collection Tickets
Peggy Guggenheim Collection Reviews
We loved visiting the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice last week. It was superb value for money my kids who love art voted this was the best experience of our trip to Italy. We booked with headout so we joined a small queue to enter faster than those who didn't book. We are interailing at the moment and are now in Germany so we're looking at more art galleries to match the Guggemheim.
- Lucy, Headout, July 2022
Venice boasts a rich Jewish heritage, albeit one marred by adversity, dating back to the 1500s. During this period, Europe as a whole was inhospitable to Jews, forcing them to seek livelihoods and refuge far from their homes. Venice emerged as a primary destination due to its employment opportunities, albeit begrudgingly extended. Despite this, discrimination persisted, relegating Jews to segregated neighborhoods. Thus, the first Jewish Ghetto was established. Situated amidst two of the city's oldest synagogues, the Jewish museum in Venice offers a window into the customs and struggles of Venetian Jews during the 16th century. Exhibits include ancient crowns, spires, keys, manuscripts, books, and other religious artifacts crucial to daily Jewish life, shedding light on their historical journey and cultural significance.
Jewish Museum Highlights
- Jewish Ghetto
- Channukkioth chandeliers
- curtain to cover doors of ‘Aron Ha Kodesh’ or ‘Parakòth’
Recommended Jewish Museum Tickets
#4 Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
Must-visit Museum in Venice
If you’re a fan and admirer of one of the world’s greatest painter, inventor and thinker, Leonardo Da Vinci, then this place will give you goosebumps. The Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Venice, is a space dedicated and devoted to the art, work and thoughts of this extraordinary, multi-talented man. The museum is divided into 4 apt and unique sections - Earth, Air, Fire and Water, with each section showcasing relevant, working reproductions of his machines and ideas. All the devices and contraptions on display are built in accordance to his designs and in some cases, to exact scale! There is even a section solely focused on exhibiting his anatomical studies along with a gallery showcasing some of his most famous paintings and works of art. If you think what you saw in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was impressive, wait till you see what’s in store for you in this museum.
Leonardo Da Vinci Museum Highlights
- Flying Machines
- Ideal City
- War Machines
Recommended Leonardo Da Vinci Museum Tickets
Situated on the picturesque and stunning Murano Island, the Murano Glass Museum is a thematic exhibition on the history of glass, glass art and most importantly, Murano Glass. Aside from its breathtaking canals and pleasantly old-fashioned houses, Murano is well-known throughout Italy for its magnificent glass creations. Glassmaking, on this island dates back to about 1291, when all the glassmakers of Venice were ordered by the Government to relocate to Murano for safety reasons. The Glass Museum highlights this heritage through its permanent collections, which include works from as far back as the Roman Empire, all the way till today. Some of the notable pieces on display are creations by the Barovier & Toso glass company and glass textiles designed by Carlo Scarpa, a renowned Italian architect, in the late 1930s.
Highlights of Museo del Vetro ( Murano Glass Museum)
- Barovier Cup
- displays of Suguso
- Moretti and Cenedee
- colorful glass bead collection
Just like how Murano is famous for its glass, the island of Burano is recognized for its lace and lace creations. In fact, the Burano lace was once such an item of luxury, that most of the noble families and aristocrats of Europe wanted the lace adorned on their trousseau or dresses! The Burano Lace Museum, located at the iconic palace of Podestà of Torcello, takes you on a complete rundown of the history and craftsmanship of the famous Venetian laces, and in the mornings gives you an opportunity to see this fine creation in the making. The permanent collection here is chronologically organized and divided into 4 sections - 16th century, 17th-18th century, 19th-20th century and The Burano Lace School (1872-1970). In each of the sections you will see examples of the products made during that period, including objects like glasses, clothes, books, drawings and even paintings.
Highlights of Museo del Merletto (Burano Lace Museum)
- Video explaining origins of needlework and lace patterns
- antique lace fabrics from the 1600s
- decorative pieces of lace
- soft and intricate lace works
Nestled in the Santa Croce district of Venice, Ca’ Pesaro stands as a magnificent testament to 18th-century Venetian architecture, boasting a breathtaking Baroque facade that overlooks the Grand Canal. Constructed in 1710 by the renowned architect Baldassarre Longhena for the illustrious Pesaro family, this opulent palace currently serves as the home to the International Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Oriental Art. Within the confines of the Modern Art Museum, visitors are treated to a rich collection primarily spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, featuring masterpieces by esteemed artists such as Gustav Klimt, Henry Moore, Umberto Boccioni, Wassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall. A dedicated section also showcases an impressive array of graphic art. Ascending to the upper floor of the palace, guests are transported to the Oriental Museum of Venice, where a diverse array of objects and artworks from Japan, China, Indonesia, and Cambodia are on display. Among the captivating exhibits are weapons, armor, dolls, kimonos, statuettes, and drawings—all curated from the extensive travels of Prince Henry of Bourbon.
Highlights of Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art
- Auguste Rodin’s ‘Burghers of Calais’
- Medardo’s ‘Madame X’
- Franz Von Stuck's ‘Medusa'
- Gustave Klint’s ‘Judith II Salomé’
- Felice Casorati’s ‘The Young Maidens’
Not to be confused with the Accademia Gallery in Florence, which houses Michelangelo’s ‘David’, the Accademia in Venice is, in its own right, also one of the finest art museums in the world. The Gallerie dell’Accademia, which is situated in the lovely south bank of the Grand Canal, once used to be a part of Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, a prominent art school founded in 1750 by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, famous for being one of the first institutions in the world to study the art and science of art restoration, back in 1777. Today, the museum boasts of some outstanding works of Venetian and Italian heritage, exhibiting pieces by gifted Italian artists including Bellini, Carpaccio, Veronese, Tiziano, Veneziano, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Titian, and Canaletto. If you’re looking to spend some time admiring and marvelling at Italian art, then this is the place for you.
Highlights of Gallerie dell’Accademia
- Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’
- Veronese’s ‘Feast in the House of Levi,’
- Bellini’s ‘St. Job Altarpiece’
- Titian’s ‘Pieta’
- Giorgioni’s ‘The Tempest’
Another art museum definitely worth visiting in Venice is the Museum of the Querini Stampalia Foundation, located in the Palazzo Querini Stampalia. Considered to be one of the most significant and well preserved house museums in Venice, the gallery consists of a wide range of Baroque and Rococo masterpieces, including works by Giovanni Bellini, Pietro Longhi, Gabriel Bella, Matteo Ghidoni, Lorenzo di Credi and Giulio Carpiono. The museum also contains a fair number of modern-art works, thanks to the donations of Venetian artist Eugenio Da Venezia, who in 1989, gave a substantial amount of his work to the foundation in order to give impetus to the rising Venetian art movement.
Highlights of Museo della Fondazione Querini Stampalia
- Recreation of Querini Stampalia’s home
- Giovani Bellini’s ‘The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple,’
- scenes of Venetian life by Pietro Longhi and Gabriel Bella
- Canaletto’s sketch of Domenic Tintoretto’s ‘Paradise’
- Canaletto’s sketch of Giambattista Tiepolo's ‘Last Judgment’
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is one of the most awe-inspiring, ornate and recognizable buildings in all of Venice, with some even claiming that this structure is to Venice what the Sistine Chapel is to Rome! Established as a confraternity in the mid-16th century and later proclaimed a Great School, painter Tintoretto was commissioned with the tough task of providing paintings for the Scuola and decorating its walls and ceilings. It took the artist 24 years and nearly a third of his life to complete this task, and the results definitely reflect the work. With breathtaking frescoes, intricate murals and exquisite paintings, it is no wonder why some Tintoretto fans believe that the Scuola Grande di San Rocco was his pièce de résistance. Some of the artist’s best pieces can be found in the Sala dell'Albergo, Sala Terrena and the Sala Superiore. It must be said that even if you’re not a fan of paintings and of art in general, you must still pay this museum a visit, to simply bask in the sheer brilliance of Tintoretto’s effort.
Highlights of Scuola Grande di San Rocco
- Chiesa di San Rocco
- Tintoretto's painting on the ceiling of ‘Sala dell’Albergo,’
- ‘Annunciation,’ ‘Assumption’
- ‘Elijah Fed by an Angel’
Tips For Visiting Museums In Venice
Wear comfortable footwear when visiting the museums in Venice.
- Book your tickets to the museums in Venice in advance and online. By booking tickets online, you can get good deals on tickets such as combo deals and skip-the-line tickets.
- Where available, try and opt for guided tours for the museums of Venice.
- If you want to go for a self-guided tour, you can use the multilingual audio guides that are readily available in the museums of Venice.
- Skip-the-line tickets for the museums in Venice give you priority access to the museums and help you skip the waiting queues at the entrance.
- Try to plan your visit to the museums in Venice during the off-peak season to get better deals and avoid the crowds.
Some of the best museums in Venice are the Gallerie dell’ Academia, Doge’s Palace and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Most museums in Venice do charge an entrance fee, but on certain days of the year they offer discounted rates and free admission.
The Jewish Museum and the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum are the newest museums in Venice.
There are no restrictions for entering museums in Venice. However, it is always a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and footwear when visiting the museums in Venice.
If you plan on visiting the different museums in Venice, then it is a good idea to invest in a museum pass. Not only will the pass give you access to the museums in Venice, but it will also help you save money.