Garden Destinations: The Peggy Guggenheim Museum Venice, Italy

When we were leaving Venice to head for the lakes district on our Thanksgiving Italy trip, I asked my traveling companions what their favorite part of Venice was.  My daughter liked the gondola ride the best, my son mentioned the fun of the floods and walking on all the elevated ramps (a 4 year old’s dream) and my husband liked the Scuola Grande San Rocco (among other things).  Mine was the Peggy Guggenheim museum.

changing place changing time neon sign peggy guggenheim garden

Peggy Guggenheim is famed for her collection of 20th century art and for discovering the likes of Jackson Pollock among other famed modern artists.  The sculpture garden that surrounds the small museum was what I enjoyed the most.   Located on the grand Canal in Venice, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni – so called because the previous owners (before Peggy) kept Lions in the garden (imagine!!) —  is a small compound with a surprise around every corner.

yoko ono wish tree peggy guggenheim garden

Yoko Ono, was a friend of Peggy and gave her the olive tree in the garden as a wish tree.  My son placed his wish and then harassed me for the remainder of the day about making sure we went back the next day to see if there was a motorcycle under the tree.

wish tree my sons wish

Peggy’s garden is full of interesting art.  Like this piece (below)…it was a series of cut mirrors and glass.  I have no idea how I captured this Picasso version of my family portrait.  I was purposeful about matching up my face with my husbands face, but how my daughter and my son snuck in (one as a reflection and the other in the flesh) is an optical trick that I couldn’t have coordinated again if I tried.  (I admit, it is kinda creepy)weird family photos

My favorite features of the garden were the neon signs (there were two).  It was a classic Venetian courtyard garden with interesting sculpture, but the addition of the signs made it modern and exciting.  As soon as I got home, I immediately started searching ebay for interesting neon artifacts for my own garden….of course that met a quick end, because unless I want a Budweiser sign (which I don’t) I need to come up with a small fortune.  Anyone know where you can get inexpensive neon?

Click through to check out more of the details from the garden.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Laguna Dirt on January 11, 2011 at 2:19 am

    that is an amazing family portrait, way more interesting than anything shot by a professional!! and i so want some neon, if not for the outside than the inside of my home!! we missed peggy’s garden during our family trip to venice–that mean we HAVE to go back!!

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