Travel by Numbers: Venice

As La Serenissima gets set for the Biennale arts exhibition, Laura Holt paints the city by numbers
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The Independent Travel


The year the Biennale di Venezia was first established. Celebrating its 54th edition this year, it kicks off with an opening ceremony on 4 June. The world's largest exhibition of contemporary art takes place every two years with a programme of exhibitions, installations and talks that this year runs until 27 November. The title for the central exhibition is ILLUMInations, curated by art historian and editor of Europe's largest art magazine Tate Etc, Bice Curiger.


The price of a double room, in euros, at the Lissardi Palace Hotel in the Castello district on the opening weekend of the festival. One of many venues to host satellite exhibitions during the Biennale, it will exhibit the works of Bernard Aubertin from 2 June. Elsewhere in this arty haunt, vast paintings by Venetian masters adorn the corridors, while works by the likes of Gustav Klimt feature in the bedrooms. Breakfast included.


The quantity, in square metres, of mosaics decorating the vaults and cupolas of the Basilica San Marco. This opulent Byzantine landmark, which dates back to 1063, displays the artistic and architectural evolution of Venice over the centuries via an odd assortment of statues and frescos from different epochs. The remains of St Mark himself are said to be encrypted within a marble tomb beneath the main altar. Open daily 9.45am–5pm. Admission free.


The length, in kilometres, of the Grand Canal, which snakes through the city's six sestieri (districts). Take in the canal's oldest bridge – the Rialto – and the picturesque palazzi that flank the water in pink and purple hues. Stop at the Ca d'Oro palace along the way to admire its intricate Gothic façade, before visiting the Franchetti gallery with its Renaissance statues and Tuscan and Flemish works for €6.


The estimated population of the small island of Murano. The hub of glass production (pictured) during the 16th and 17th century makes an ideal day trip for those who want to explore other creative communities around the Venetian lagoon. Start at the Museo del Vetro which provides a good historical overview of how Murano glass became a prized commodity. Tickets €8.


The number of permanent pavilions in the Giardini. These municipal gardens at the eastern end of the Castello district act as the main site for the Biennale. Each pavilion is allocated to a different nation and host works by their respective countrymen during the festival – the first was built by Belgium in 1907. The event has grown, and expanded into the nearby Arsenale building. A ticket to both venues – which can be used on different days – is €20.


The number of Italian wines in the cellar at Da Fiore restaurant. Regarded as one of the finest culinary haunts in the city, it's presided over by chef Mara Martin. The restaurant holds a Michelin star and serves Venetian specialities such as molecche, tender soft-shell crab.