Two years after its initial release, I have finally gotten my hands on the first LEGO Architecture skyline set - Venice (set #21026). The first set in the skyline series, LEGO Venice portrays the legendary Italian city of islands and canals and its distinctive Renaissance architecture. Located in northeastern Italy as the capital of the Veneto region, Venice consists of 118 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon, connected by a network of canals and over 400 bridges. One of the centers of the Italian Renaissance, centuries of arts and culture have made their mark on the city, lending itself to its very distinctive architectural profile.
The LEGO Venice set includes miniature portrayals of the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark's Campanile, St. Theodore and the Winged Lion of St. Mark, and the Bridge of Sighs. The first thing to be noted about this set is that it is much smaller and less complex than other LEGO skyline sets. There are no tall skyscrapers to be found here, and the set only consists of 212 total pieces (compare that to the 444 pieces of Chicago and the 597 pieces of Shanghai). Because of this, the set is a very easy build, taking half an hour to complete. Each of the structures’ builds are all comparatively simple when stacked up against other skyline sets - no complicated LEGO Technic pieces used here. The color palette of white, brown, and green gives the set an immediately distinctive look for such a smaller scale kit, highlighting the city’s frequent use of marble and brick.
Still, the set’s comparative simplicity is by no means a bad thing; there is still the expected level of detail in each structure portrayed. The Rialto Bridge’s use of wheel arches, cones, and cheese slopes completes its ornate design. St. Mark’s Basilica is the largest structure in the set, and the use of grille pieces, pointed pieces, and more cheese slopes pays respectful homage to the real-life counterpart’s opulently spired top. St. Mark’s Campanile is the tallest structure in the set, and its LEGO portrayal even includes a custom-printed piece showing the Lion of Saint Mark at the top of the bell tower. Finally, the Winged Lion of St. Mark statue, the St. Theodore of Amassea statue, and the Bridge of Sighs round out this set’s portrayal of Venice.
While LEGO Venice may be the smallest addition to the skyline collection, it still lovingly portrays the rich architectural history of a global city, just like every other set in the LEGO Architecture skyline collection. The rich white marble and brick facades of Venice make a fine addition to any LEGO display. Unfortunately, the set has been officially retired from LEGO retailers, so a secondhand copy must be sought out in order to add this set to one’s collection. However, this TechNews writer and LEGO collector firmly believes such a process is well worth the effort.