This content is not available in your region

Venice Biennale: Escape the heat with a drink at one of the city’s leafy garden cafes

Garden cafés offer picturesque settings and respite from the heat for visitors to Venice this summer.
Garden cafés offer picturesque settings and respite from the heat for visitors to Venice this summer.   -   Copyright  Kris Atomic
By Rebecca Ann Hughes

If you are visiting the Venice Biennale this summer, take a break from the heat with a visit to these three stunning garden cafés.

Hidden in fascinating architectural settings, these hidden green oases are perfect for a quick coffee, light snack or a Venetian aperitivo before hitting the pavilions again.

A cafè in a monumental garden greenhouse

The Serra dei Giardini coffee house is located just a stone’s throw from the pavilions of the Giardini della Biennale, one of the art exhibition’s two main locations.

The café is housed in an elegant, spacious glasshouse, which was built in 1894 for the city’s first International Art Exhibition. After a major restoration by the town council of Venice, this iron and glass structure was converted into a light-filled space for a coffee and snack bar.

The coffee shop is known for its fruity smoothies and homemade cakes. It is also a good place to try Venice’s version of spritz made with Select, an aromatic bitter that can be used instead of Aperol.

The walls of the café are filled with unusual, ornate plants and just next door there is a flower shop which is a delight to wander around.

A colour explosion at the Biennale’s design café

The Central Pavilion of the Biennale, located in the Giardini della Biennale, houses its own spectacular art café. Its interior was designed by Tobias Rehberger, winner of the Leone d’Oro for the best artist at the 2009 edition of the Biennale.

The walls are covered with dramatic black and white geometric designs with brightly coloured tables set out for customers to sit at.

The style was inspired by an art form that appeared during the First World War called razzle dazzle or dazzle camouflage where geometric forms in contrasting colours create vibrant optical patterns.

Those wishing to visit the café need to have a ticket for the Biennale.

An elegant coffee house near St Mark’s Square

Just around the corner from St Mark’s Square lie the historic Royal Gardens. The park was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century and has recently reopened after a major restoration project.

Within the verdant setting is the Coffee Pavilion, a graceful neoclassical building. The domed structure is made from Istrian stone and started life as a Cafehaus during the Habsburg’s rule in 1816 and 1817. It has now been restored and returned to its original function as a coffee house.

The cool interior of the 19th-century structure is perfect for sweltering summer days. The adjoining greenhouse opens out onto the gardens where customers can also enjoy their coffee at shaded tables.