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Biennale Cinema at the Lido of Venice

International Film
Festival of Venice

Venice is world-famous for its International Film Festival.

At the end of each summer brings films by both up-and-coming and established directors to the lagoon, as well as one of the most glamorous red carpets of stars in the world.

The Lido island hosts the Biennale Cinema, open every year to fans who want to preview the season’s most exciting films.



It’s 6 August 1932, the terrace of the Excelsior Hotel on the Marconi promenade on the Lido of Venice is packed with stars. Greta Garbo, Clarke Gable, Vittorio De Sica, Boris Karloff, among others, are there, and that evening the first ever film of the Festival is screened: Doctor Jekyll by Rouben Mamoulian.

This was how the first Venice International Film Festival opened on the nearby island of the Lido, and it is the oldest in the world after the Oscars, born two years earlier.

The exhibition gained increasing prestige, and in 1937 the Palazzo del Cinema was inaugurated, a new venue designed to accommodate an audience that was growing year by year. The Palace has undergone several extensions, alterations and restorations over the decades, and the version we see today is the culmination of the latest work begun in 2016.

By 1938, political pressures from the fascist government tainted the event and dictated its winners, thereafter during the Second World War the festival moved from the Lido, taking on characteristics more akin to propaganda than a celebration of art.

After the end of the war to the present day, the Festival has continued its rise through highs and lows, and today it no longer only celebrates American and Italian cinema, but has opened up to cinema from all over the world and is an opportunity to meet new talent and view previews of films by leading directors.


At the Venice Film Festival, films can be enjoyed in the historic Sala Grande, which hosts the most important screenings attended by directors and stars and the award ceremonies, but also in the three smaller halls: Darsena, Pasinetti and Zorzi.

The magnificent Palazzo del Casinò, next to the Palazzo del Cinema, houses the Press Conference Room and dedicated screenings for journalists and industry professionals, a press area and three other screening rooms.

Two other venues that also host screenings for the public during the Venice Film Festival are the PalaBiennale, a temporary marquee, the largest hall of all, which is a regular fixture for fans of the Festival, with its now traditional double screenings in the evenings, and the modern Sala Giardino, which opened in 2016.


Information, prices, passes, accreditation and directions on how to get to the Lido for the Biennale Cinema can be found at this link.

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