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The Punta della Dogana Museum of Contemporary Art in its triangular shape divides the Guidecca Canal and the Grand Canal in Venice. Formerly a customs house and primary port of Venice, the Punta della Dogana Museum exhibits artworks from the Francois Pinault Foundation, known as Palazzo Grassi, which is arguably the largest collection of contemporary art in the world.
The museum is located near the church of Santa Maria della Salute. The Punta della Dogana juts out into the Adriatic much like the nose of a large ship, and the building was originally erected to accommodate the tip of Dosoduro Island for which it sits upon. Incidentally, Francois-Henri Pinault is married to Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek.
Considered one of the most impressive architectural structures in the world, in June of 2009 the 17th-Century converted museum was at last completed and opened to the public. The interior of this incredible building contains divisions of extended rectangles and paralleled walls.
Although the passageways and intricate halls, as well as other parts of the old building were removed in favor of more open spacing, the exterior walls have been retained in their original brick. Also in its original – but restored condition – are the wooden ceiling beams that have been slightly altered to include skylights.
This architectural masterpiece featuring structures contained within structures, carrying out deliberate architectural plays to help showcase the works contained within the walls of this premiere modern art museum. Tadao Ando is the architect who takes top honors for building renovations, a work of art in and of itself.
At the east end of the Punta della Dogana visitors will notice the Tower of Fortune with its golden dome. This represents Earth, along with the winged sphinx known as Fortuna. Most of the art inside is displayed for 18-20 months, but some works become so well-visited and familiar to the Punta della Dogana that there they remain. Read more about featured exhibitions for your trip to Venice at Punta della Dogana here. Note that children up to 11 years old can visit the museum for free and audio guides (headsets) are included in your tour.
Getting there: From the train station and Piazzale Roma, you can get to Punta della Dogana by using the vaporetto on line 1 (stop Salute).