Living in Venice: a guide for students  

Life as a university student is about much more than studying! As a student, you can enjoy many benefits, such as discounts and special offers in various Venetian institutions. These perks will allow you to fully experience living in Venice, and to appreciate what it has to offer in terms of art, music, culture and sport

Make sure to keep your CartaConto Ca' Foscari student card with you at all times: it is proof that you are a university student and it gives you access to university libraries and services. Most institutions and ticket offices will ask you to show your CartaConto to prove your status. 

Before we delve into our list, remember that if you are younger than 29, you can also take advantage of Venice’s Carta Giovani Venezia, a city pass for students, workers and residents which grants benefits and discounts.

Here’s a selection of what you can do in this amazing city. Keep your eyes open: there’s always something new going on! 

Theatres and cinemas

Teatro la Fenice is one of the most prestigious theatres in the world. It has hosted the premieres of operas by Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti, as well as Stravinskij, Prokofiev and Britten, among others. La Fenice also manages Teatro Malibran, which was restored in 2000. Students are entitled to discounts on season tickets and, with a little bit of luck, you can also obtain a last-minute ticket at a bargain price. 

Teatro Stabile del Veneto has been active since the 1990s and offers both traditional Venetian plays and contemporary ones. It collaborates with ESU to promote Universitari a Teatro, an offer for students, PhD candidates and researchers: for a nominal fee, you can watch a play at Teatro Goldoni, Teatro Verdi (Padua) and Teatro Mario del Monaco (Treviso).

Students are also welcome to participate in the Venice International Film Festival, an important event which has always attracted internationally renowned guests. Students can buy tickets at a reduced price and request university student accreditation to watch films and gain access to the exhibition areas and free-access conferences. 

Finally, the Venetian Circuito Cinema has various offers for students, such as the CinemaPiù card, which grants special prices for access to institutions such as Palazzetto Bru Zane, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, as well as to associations such as Alliance Française and the Italian-Russian Association (Associazione Culturale Italo-Russa). With the card you can also get discounts in bookshops and cultural centres. Cinemas in the province of Venice usually promote the martedì al cinema (Tuesdays at the cinema) campaign, thanks to which you can buy tickets for just a few euros. 

Art

Venice hosts a very wide range of museums and cultural centres which focus on archaeology, medieval art, the Renaissance, the 19th century, contemporary art, and natural history – there really is something for everyone!

The Musei Civici circuit offers student discounts and special deals, such as the Museum Pass. The circuit includes, among others, Palazzo Ducale, Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum), Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum), Museo CorrerCa’ RezzonicoCa’ Pesaro, il Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum) in Murano, and Palazzo Mocenigo. Tickets for residents in the Municipality of Venice are always free, while the first Sunday of each month is free for all visitors.   

As a student, you can benefit from similar advantages at the Musei Statali: all EU students younger than 25 are entitled to reduced tickets for Gallerie dell’Accademia, Museo Archeologico, Museo di Arte OrientalePalazzo Grimani, Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro, as well as Villa Pisani and many other museums on the mainland. 

Chorus is an association that includes various churches of incredible value from an artistic, historical and architectural perspective. These churches host precious works of art such as paintings by Tintoretto, Veronese, Tiepolo, and Palma il Giovane. By purchasing one yearly pass, you can visit the sixteen churches that belong to this association. 

Students younger than 26 can get a reduced ticket to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which hosts one of the most important 20th-century collections of European and American art in Italy. The collection includes artwork by René Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico, Georges Braque, Francis Bacon, and Max Ernst. The Guggenheim Foundation also holds an international internship programme for students and recent graduates. 

Biennale di Venezia is another international event which is organised in different sectors: Art, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Historical Archive. It is one of the most well-known and prestigious cultural institutions, and you can look into its internship opportunities

There are a few more places you should know about. One is Palazzo Grassi - Punta della Dogana, which usually hosts exhibitions of contemporary art but also screenings and workshops. Another one is Casa dei Tre Oci, a reference point for photographers that will be in Giudecca for just a little while longer. Another place you should visit is the Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum of Venice), which is in the Ghetto in Cannaregio. Finally, you won’t want to miss seeing Le Stanze del Vetro at Fondazione Giorgio Cini, on the San Giorgio Island; the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a masterpiece by Tintoretto; and the Basilicas of Frari, Santa Maria della Salute and Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

Libraries

Ca’ Foscari’s University Library System has over 1,100,000 paper resources divided into 5 research areas and housed in 9 libraries. In addition to this there are electronic resources, data banks and the dissertation archive. With a total of 645 seats, the University Library System occupies more than 10,000 cubic metres.  

If, however, you live in an area of Venice that isn’t very close to Ca’ Foscari buildings, or if you think that meeting a fellow student might distract you from your studies, you can choose one of the many other libraries that Venice has to offer. For example, you could go to Fondazione Querini StampaliaFondazione Giorgio CiniBiblioteca Nazionale Marciana and San Francesco della Vigna, as well as to the IUAV library in Tolentini, the specialised libraries in museums, institutions and associations, and the civic libraries on the islands and on the mainland. 

Sport

If you aren’t interested in watching sports on TV or if too much studying has taken its toll on your back, why not take up a sport at the University Sports Centre of Venice? You can try tennis, sailing, horse riding, rugby, athletics, fencing, skating, judo and diving. You can simply keep in shape or choose to compete. 

Ca’ Foscari also offers courses in Venetian rowing, kayak and SUP, dragon boat, rowing and rowing in a galleon, both for beginners and for more experienced athletes. 

If you’re interested in a less conventional sport, you could join Ca’ Foscari’s brand new chess group

Music

Every year, Ca’ Foscari involves many students in musical activities, such as ElettrofoscariUnive EnsembleCoro (the choir), Gruppo Vocale and the Orchestra. During the academic year you can go to concerts and seminars that are open to the public. 

In Venice there is also the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, and the city is home to choirs, orchestras, ensembles and groups whose repertoires go from classical music to jazz and rock, and which are open to beginners as well as experts. 

Some of Ca’ Foscari’s initiatives 

Ca’ Foscari plays an active part in the cultural life of the city by organising events that have an international appeal. One of these is Art Night, an event all about art which has reached its 10th edition. Starting in 2021, the project will align itself with similar events in Europe, happening in autumn. 

Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival is an international festival of short films that has now reached its 11th edition. It is the first film festival in Europe to be managed by university students, under the guidance of a board of professors in film studies and professionals from the world of cinema. The festival has hosted masters such as Dario Argento and contestants such as Daria Kashcheeva, who won first prize with her short film “Daughter”, which was also nominated for an Oscar in 2020. 

Another important event hosted by Ca’ Foscari is Incroci di Civiltà (Crossroads of Civilizations), a literary festival which was first organised in 2008. Venice is a multicultural crossroads, and the festival welcomes writers, translators, and artists from all over the world. Over the years, the festival has extended beyond the main days, with meetings and conferences.  

If you love theatre, you must check out what Teatro Ca’ Foscari has to offer and make the most of its laboratories, workshops, shows, and theatre residencies!

For all the other opportunities offered by Ca’ Foscari, have a look at the Cultural Activities webpage (in Italian).

Public transport

If you want to get to all of these places, you need to know how to get around. Students are entitled to special prices on season tickets for urban and inter-urban ACTV buses. If you want to travel around Venice, you can get Carta Venezia Unica, a card that is exactly what you need to cross the Grand Canal and the lagoon!

If you don’t know where to start, you can learn more about the Civic Museums thanks to Radio Ca' Foscari!

What are you waiting for? We know that you will soon have your favourite corner of Venice! In the meantime, here are some places that are dear to other Ca’ Foscari students:

“My favourite place in Venice is Campiello del Remer, near Rialto. You get a breathtaking view of the Grand Canal and of the Rialto Bridge, and it is just a stone’s throw away from the busy alleyways close to Fondaco dei Teschi.” – Elena Annunziata, MA in Italian Philology and Literature

“One of my favourite things to do in Venice is going for a walk in Giardini, a very green and wild place – something unusual in Venice. I love to sit in the park, pop by a café in Via Garibaldi, and just relax.” – Sara Marongiu, BA in Languages and Civilisations of Asia and Mediterranean Africa, Japanese 

“I just love Campo Santa Margherita: children running, people looking at seagulls with a slight apprehension, having coffee at Rosso with friends on a sunny spring day, people who come and go, lives that cross paths.” – Manuele Veggi, BA in Italian

Writer: Rachele Svetlana Bassan / Translator: Joangela Ceccon