Monumental Journeys: Escapades - Venice

Join World Monuments Fund to explore our past and present projects in Venice, and examine the impact of recent catastrophic flooding with expert historians and conservators.

Canals of Venice

Join World Monuments Fund to explore our past and present projects in Venice, and examine the impact of recent catastrophic flooding with expert historians and conservators. Since 1966, WMF has been at the forefront of finding solutions to the issues caused by climate change in Venice. Our tour will focus on that work, as well as recent efforts to restore and preserve significant sites of Jewish Heritage in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto. We will also enjoy an exclusive private tour of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennial, visit exquisite private homes, enjoy the finest cuisine and accommodations, and more.

Please email Jessica Glaser, Director of Patron Programs at World Monuments Fund, or call +1 646 424 9594 x 218

  • Thursday, June 4
  • Friday, June 5
  • Saturday, June 6
  • Sunday, June 7
  • Monday, June 8

Welcome to Venice!

Arrive at Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to our hotel, the ideally located and sumptuous Hotel Bauer. Unpack, relax, and gather in the hotel lobby to depart for drinks and dinner on the terrace of Palazzo Alverà, a sixteenth-century Gothic palazzo overlooking that prestigious sweep of the Grand Canal between the Rialto Bridge and Ca’ Foscari. Over the evening, Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of World Monuments Fund, will discuss WMF’s organizational priorities, current projects, and vision for the future.

WMF in Venice: Jewish Heritage & Climate Change

Our day begins with breakfast and a presentation by a local climate change expert on the effects of recent flooding.

We will then travel by private boat to the Ghetto Nuovo for an expert-led tour of significant sites in Venice’s historic Jewish Ghetto, where WMF has been actively engaged since 1973. The word ghetto, in fact, derives from this site, when in 1516, Jews were forced to relocate, and where there had once stood a foundry or “ghèto” in Italian.

We will be met by Marcella Ansaldi, Director of the Jewish Museum in Venice, and guided through three Renaissance synagogues that comprise the heart of the Jewish Ghetto, the Schola Canton, Schola Tedesca, and Schola Spagnola. With support from the David Berg Foundation, WMF repaired and restored the historic windows of these three synagogues, both improving their appearance and protecting the structures from future water damage. Among these places of worship is a network of spaces operated by the Jewish Museum of Venice, an innovative adaptive reuse project also supported by WMF. We will tour the Museum—which is still in development—and enjoy lunch on site.

WMF in Venice: Historic Venice, Part I

Next, we will have a private visit to the Biblioteca Marciana on Piazza San Marco. Founded in 1468 as the library of the Republic of Venice, the Biblioteca is one of the earliest surviving public libraries in Italy and holds one of the greatest collections of classical texts in the world. From 1967 until 1986 WMF was active at this site, repairing and conserving diverse architectural and decorative features, including a large-scale ceiling painting by Titian. Together with a manuscripts expert, we will view a collection of rare 15th century illuminated manuscripts and other material usually not accessible to the public.

After a brief rest at the hotel with time to freshen up, we will continue to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco for a private after hours visit. Founded in 1478, San Rocco became the richest and largest of the Venetian scuole, religious confraternities that functioned simultaneously as charitable organizations, mutual aid societies, and social clubs. In 1594 Tintoretto was commissioned to paint the structure’s ceiling, a project which expanded to include over 50 paintings throughout the entire building. WMF has restored 38 of the 50 paintings to their former brilliance and conserved other structural features of the interior spaces.

We will then visit another of WMF’s major Venice projects, conservation of significant features of the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. The scuola was first founded in 1261, and is notable for housing a relic of the True Cross and for the series of paintings it commissioned from a number of famous Venetian artists (Bellini, Carpaccio, Perugino and others) depicting the Miracles of the Holy Cross. Since 1969, WMF worked in various phases to repair the building’s roof, its marble and mosaic floors, strengthen its walls, repair water damage, and implement systems for preventing further water damage.

Dinner to follow at a private club on the Grand Canal.

The 17th International Architecture Biennial

After breakfast, we will tour the 17th International Architecture Biennial at the Giardini, curated by architect and scholar Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Sarkis explains the exhibition, How will we live together?, as follows: “We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together...” The architects invited to participate in the biennial are encouraged to engage other professions and constituencies—artists, builders, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens.

Private Visit

Following lunch, there will be time to explore the city on your own before continuing to a private visit of the Palazzo Albrizzi where we will be received by the long-time owner himself. The palace, with its perfectly preserved furnishings and decorations, is one of the most remarkable examples of the Venetian Baroque and has been inhabited by the same family without interruption ever since its purchase in 1648.

Exclusive, private dinner to follow.

WMF in Venice: Historic Venice, Part II

After breakfast, we will spend the morning touring three of WMF’s most significant church restoration projects in Venice: Santa Maria della Visitazione from 1745, with brilliant frescoed ceilings by Tiepolo, where WMF’s work included restoration of the church’s impressive Nacchini organ; San Giovanni Bragora, where WMF restored the fourteenth-century altarpiece decorated by Giambattista Cima da Conegliano, and the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello, the official cathedral of Venice from the ninth century until 1807 and where WMF repaired and conserved the belltower and other structural elements.

Adaptive Reuse & Contemporary Art

After lunch, hosted by a local collector in their home, there will be the option to tour local exhibitions of modern and contemporary art at venues such as François Pinault's Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana— both extraordinary adaptive reuse projects in their own right—the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, or continue touring the 17th International Architecture Biennial at the Arsenale. 

Following a rest at the hotel, we will enjoy a drink at the apartment of a local philanthropist on the rooftop of Ignazio Gardella’s building at Le Zattere. Our hostess will also escort us through the Giardini Reali of San Marco, a new restoration project she conceived of with Paolo Pejrone.

We will conclude the day with a fabulous farewell dinner including specially-invited guests.

Private Visit & Farewell to Venice!

After breakfast, we will enjoy a private visit to Palazzo Barbaro, a pair of minimally-altered Gothic-era palaces that has played host to Henry James (who used it as the setting of The Wings of the Dove) Isabella Stewart Gardner, John Singer Sargent, Robert Browning, and to centuries of Venetian elite. We will be received by the palazzo's owner.

Independent departures throughout the day.