Officially called Serra dei Giardini, (greenhouse of the Gardens) but more fondly referred to as La Serra– ‘THE Greenhouse’, (yes, singular), it is an exceptional anomaly in Venetian architecture. Whilst it is not quite true to say it is the only greenhouse, it is definitely the largest and most beautiful that has been given to the public, and for this reason it has adopted the grand title of LA SERRA.
It is a space where nature has become the designer and in subtle ways this unconventional yet natural order creates an atmosphere of creativity and relaxation
Constructed in 1894 it is the oldest permanent structure of the whole original system of the Biennale. After a period of being unused, it was in 2010 that the municipality of Venice restored it to its former glory and the social co-operative ‘Nonsoloverde’ won the contract to manage it.
In the few years that have passed the doors have remained constantly open to innovate thinkers, and projects which incorporate nature and education. Amassing to an impressively diverse history of events.
What to expect:
Art: Paolo Rosso, the artistic director is in charge of coordinating and choosing the constant arrival of events and exhibitions. With his team they have been working on a long-term artistic project called, Microclima. The project focuses on the relationship between mankind and nature, and how artistic activities can support the cultural heritage. Importantly promoting the collaboration of international institutions and local realties. In this way, the botanical origins of the building are maintained but our view of the world is constantly being expanded.
Garden shop: In a more traditional sense, all year round there is the possibility to buy your own herbs, flowers and seeds. This is popular with locals and you will be forgiven if you can’t fit a plant in your hand luggage this time round. However, it is beginning to play an important role in the schools providing an alternative education.
Read: there is also a small book exchange, so if you have made the trip by yourself, in search of an hour or two of silence you are good in company (so to speak).
Time for a drink, all of this being said it is still a place to simply pass time in the sun with friends. As the days are starting to draw in and scarfs are reluctantly being donned, this is one of the last strongholds where you can get all the benefits of natural sunlight without having to brave the cold. Whether you are here for an afternoon tea (another scarcity in Venice) or a morning spritz, we highly recommend taking the time to slow down and enjoy the warm light of LA SERRA.
Where is it:
Located at the end of Via Garibaldi in the Castello area, it is more a place of arrival rather than a passing whim. Having said this however, it is conveniently close to the Biennale entrance and so often used to break up or end a tiring cultural day.
On foot you can take the back alleys of Castello from St Marks and arrive in around 20 minutes, or alternatively get off at the vaporetto stop for the ‘Giardini’.
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 21.30
Saturday: 10.00 – 24.00
Tuesday – Sunday: 11.00 – 19.00