Explore contemporary and often controversial art in a magnificent building that was once the center of the city’s customs operations.
Within the exposed brick walls of the Punta della Dogana are some of the most thought-provoking and contentious works of contemporary art in Venice. The art is spread throughout a triangular shaped 17th-century building that was the city’s former customs house. The permanent collection and gallery are owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault who also owns the Palazzo Grassi.
There are two things to look out for before you go into the building. See the beautiful rooftop sculpture of two kneeling slaves. They are holding a golden ball upon which stands the figure of Fortune, a winged goddess. Then observe the lamppost at the tip of the Punta della Dogana. It replaced a controversial statue depicting a naked boy holding a frog, which was created for the gallery's opening in 2009. The lamppost is a reproduction of the original situated there in the 17th century.
Stroll through the museum’s two floors where there are more than 30 rooms showcasing cutting-edge art. The gallery puts on temporary exhibitions drawn from its permanent collection. Among the previous works that have been displayed here are crystal versions of diseased organs of the body and nine shrouded marble figures. Keep in mind that some of the works may not be suitable for young eyes.
Punta della Dogana is at the convergence of the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, opposite Piazza San Marco. Arrive by vaporetto and stop at Salute. If you are coming by ferry from the mainland, the arrival point is about a 1-minute walk away from the museum.
The art museum is open every day except Tuesdays and Christmas Day. There is an admission charge, but discounts are available for students, children between 12 and 18 years of age and seniors over 65. Younger children have not been forgotten about; the Punta della Dogana organizes workshops and activities for those aged between 4 and 10 years. Visit the art museum’s website for schedules and prices.