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Giardini Pubblici

Venice's park

US Pavilion

This rare green oasis in the city of stone and water was planted by Eugène de Beauharnais in the name of Napoleon at the expense of four churches and two monasteries, which no one mourned too deeply.

It's a cool place to lounge away a hot afternoon, and as one of Venice’s few open spaces, it has become a repository for forgotten and bizarre memorials, among them – a crabbed bit of concrete and rusty steel mesh labelled: ‘From the Veneto to her partigiani’ and a statue of Minerva riding a lion side saddle that once stood on top of the Accademia until embarrassment, presumably, caused it to be shunted off here. There’s also a small children’s playground, and if you come in an even-numbered year you can explore the offerings in the national pavilions of the Biennale (in odd-numbered years they’re usually locked up, although exceptional exhibitions occasionally bring them out of their biennial darkness).

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vaporetto Giardini

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Creative Commons