Europe’s premier arts showcase since 1907 is something of a misnomer: the Venice Biennale is actually held every year, but the spotlight alternates between art (odd-numbered years) and architecture (even-numbered years).

The summer art biennial is the biggest draw, with some 300,000 visitors viewing contemporary-art showcases in 30 national pavilions in the Giardini, with additional exhibitions in venues across town. The architecture biennial is usually held in autumn (fall), with architects filling the vast boat sheds of the Arsenale with avant-garde conceptual structures.