All Palaces

In Italy, a residence of a nobleman, usually larger than a regular house, is called palazzo, a term translated into English as palace. In the past, besides residences, the palazzi also functioned as warehouses and office spaces. Many cities in Italy have a Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the local lord. Probably, the city with the most palaces is Venice, mostly located on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Maybe the most important palaces in Italy are Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Palazzo Reale in Caserta, Doge’s Palace in Venice, Palazzo Reale in Milan, Palazzo del Quirinale in Rome, Palazzo Reale in Naples, Palazzo della Ragione in Padua and Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia. With so many palaces, it is hard to decide which are the most beautiful and worth visiting, and that is why we suggest that you visit them all.

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    Palazzo della Carovana

    Palazzo della Carovana, also known as Palazzo dei Cavalieri, is a palace with a beautiful facade located in Piazza dei Cavalieri (Knights’ Square), in Pisa, between the Palazzo dell’Orologio and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The palace was once the headquarter of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen, but since 1846 it houses the Scuola Normale Superiore.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo della Carovana was built between 1562 and 1564 by the architect Giorgio Vasari, drastically restructuring the medieval Palace of the Elders (Palazzo degli Anziani). Some remains of the old building are still visible along the sides of the palace. In 1810, Napoleon suppressed the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen and gave the building to the Scuola Normale Superiore, the university he founded. The double-flight marble staircase was built in 1821 by Giuseppe Marchelli and the rear part of the building was added between 1928 and 1930, after a design by Giovanni Girometti, on the occasion of the revival of the Scuola Normale.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Vasari regularized the uneven medieval facade, fusing three arts he mastered – architecture, sculpture and painting. The sgraffiti with allegorical figures and zodiacal signs, designed by Vasari Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Pitti

    Palazzo Pitti was the residence of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, that was inhabited, over time, by the Medici, by the Habsburg-Lorraine and, after the Unification of Italy, by the Savoy. Palazzo Pitti hosts the Palatine Gallery, the Royal Apartments, the Apartment of the Duchess of Aosta, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Treasury of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Costume Gallery, the Porcelain Museum and the Carriage Museum. The museal complex of Palazzo Pitti also includes the Boboli Gardens.   SHORT HISTORY Luca Pitti, a rival of the Medici family, wanted a more luxurious residence than the one built by Michelozzo for Cosimo the Elder. Around 1440, Pitti entrusted the project to Filippo Brunelleschi, but the architect died 12 years before the construction began, and the architect that will build Palazzo Pitti will be Luca Fancelli, a pupil and collaborator of Brunelleschi. The construction was started around 1458 but, due to design problems and financial difficulties, the works were temporarily interrupted in 1465. Luca Pitti died in 1472. Around 1550, Buonaccorso Pitti sold the palace to Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de’ Medici and daughter of the Viceroy of Naples. The palace thus became the main Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dei Priori

    Palazzo dei Priori is one of the best examples of public buildings in the Middle Ages. Located in the central Piazza IV Novembre, it still hosts today the Town Hall and, on the top floors, the National Gallery of Umbria.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo dei Priori was built in Gothic style between 1293 and 1443, in several construction phases. The irregularity of the façades is explained in the long course of construction, aimed at continuous additions and renovations. First, between 1293 and 1297, was built the palace for the Capitano del Popolo by Giacomo di Servadio and Giovanello di Benevento. Each of the two main floors comprised a single room. The room on the lower floor was originally the Sala del Consiglio, the room used for meetings of the Council that advised the Capitano del Popolo, that it later became the Sala dei Notari (Hall of Notaries). The room above is today the Sala Podiani of the Galleria Nazionale. Between 1333 and 1337, there was the first enlargement, when it was built the right side, with two windows and the portico of three arches, replaceing the church of San Severo. With the additions from 1353, the palace reached Via dei Read more [...]

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    Doge’s Palace

    To get to know the supreme expression of Venetian culture, whether you are attracted to architecture, painting, sculpture or all together, a visit to the Doge’s Palace is imperative. Although we are often tempted to recommend the discovery of Venice on narrow streets and hidden canals, early in the morning or late in the evening, we can equally say that visiting Venice without seeing the Doge’s Palace, in the middle of the day, inside and outside, can be considered a missed visit.   SHORT HISTORY Initially built of wood in the 9th century, the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was rebuilt several times afterwards, acquiring the form we see today between 1340 and 1424, with the construction of the Great Council Chamber under the supervision of the architect Filippo Calendario. After that period, new constructions have been added to the palace, under the care of Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon (father and son), of which we can remember the Porta della Carta, the main entrance that directs visitors to the inner courtyard. After a major fire that occurred in 1483, the inner courtyard will be rebuilt in a Renaissance style by architect Antonio Rizzo. The exterior of the white and pink marble Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale di Milano

    Palazzo Reale di Milano (Royal Palace of Milan), formerly Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, was for many centuries the seat of the government of Milan and a royal residence until 1919, when it was acquired by the state, becoming a venue for exhibitions and events. Originally designed with a system of two courtyards, then partially demolished to make room for the Duomo, the palace is located to the right of the facade of the Cathedral of Milan, opposite to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.   SHORT HISTORY A former palace that stood on the same area in the late Middle Ages, the Broletto Vecchio, also called Brolo di Sant’Ambrogio, was the first documented seat of the Municipality of Milan. The palace, built before the 10th century, ended this function in 1251, when the municipal office was moved to the Palazzo della Ragione. Broletto Vecchio was then demolished, and in its place was built the Palazzo Reale, known at first as the Palazzo del Broletto Vecchio, recalling the name of the pre-existing building. Palazzo Reale became a political center during the lords of the Torriani, Visconti and Sforza families, taking later the role of Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the Duchy of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), known once as the Palazzo degli Illustrissimi Signori (Palace of the Illustrious Lords) and today as the Palazzo della Provincia (Palace of the Province), is a palace located in Piazza Napoleone, in Lucca.   SHORT HISTORY Until the rise of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca, in the first years of the 14th century, the seat of the government of the Republic was located in Piazza San Michele. Castracani built the vast Augusta Fortress, in which he moved the entire administrative power of the city. The huge complex of Augusta Fortress, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by population in 1370, after the Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, gave the Republic its freedom. With the new lordship of Paolo Guinigi, a new fortress called Cittadella di Lucca was built on the ruins of the former Fortezza Augusta. In 1430, after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, the Citadel was destroyed as well, but the restored republican government preserved the palace that belonged originally to Castruccio, for its headquarters. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Palazzo Pubblico grew without a precise design, with the progressive addition of new buildings. Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Roncioni

    Palazzo Roncioni is a palace located on the northern bank of the Arno river, in Pisa, adjacent to the Palazzo Toscanelli and about 100 meters away from the Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 17th century, by merging several medieval buildings. In 1662, the original owners, the Navarette family, sold it to the Roncioni family. In 1789, Angiolo Roncioni, passionate about art, hired the painter Giovanni Battista Tempesti to paint frescoes on the walls and vaulted ceilings of the palace, and J.B. Desmarais to paint family portraits. In 1794, Angiolo Roncioni and Andrea Agostini created the Roncioni Academy, a cultural circle where famous artists were invited, and where the most advanced theatrical texts of the period were presented. In 1795, the owner comissioned the architect Alessandro Gherardesca to build a small theater in the palace. The Count Vittorio Alfieri, the founder of the Italian tragedy, stayed there in the same year, when he was invited to recite his work Saul during the period of Luminara di San Ranieri. In 1816, the writer Madame de Staël lived in the palace, and later Louis Bonaparte – the brother of Napoleon, and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Opera

    Palazzo dell’Opera is a palace located on the north-eastern area of Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa, to the east of Campo Santo and to the north of Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Until the first years of the 21st century, the palace housed the headquarters of the Opera della Primaziale Pisana, which is the entity that manages the Cathedral of Pisa and the monumental complex of Piazza dei Miracoli. Currently, it only holds some offices for the technical staff and, since 2014, it hosts temporary art exhibitions.   SHORT HISTORY The main body of the building, which still maintains its original facade, dates back to 1309, while the expansions date back to the 18th century. The building was in fact the residence of the various workers of the cathedral complex: the tailor, the gardener, the bell ringers, until the 19th century, when the administration offices of the Opera della Primaziale were brought in the palace.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade shows a Medici coat of arms and marble panels with the initials of the Opera del Duomo, as well as an 18th-century plaque commemorating the stay of Charles VIII of France in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Reale

    Palazzo Reale is a palace located on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa, now hosting the National Museum of the Royal Palace.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built in 1583 by Bernardo Buontalenti for Francesco I de’ Medici, to replace the Medici Palace located near the Church of San Matteo. The palace was built by merging some medieval buildings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries and partly still visible – that of the Counts Gaetani of Terriccio, Pomaya and d’Oriseo (the Tower of the Verga d’Oro and the Tower of the Canton), and was remodeled several times, during the 17th and 19th centuries. On an alley behind the palace, we can see the round arches of a medieval building, now lowered due to the rising of the floor, and from the courtyard, we can see an ancient tower, with an arched portal, two small windows with a pentagonal architrave and a single-lancet window higher up. On the ground floor of the courtyard, we can also see the remains of a loggia, with two columns with capitals, partially abraded. The Medici court met here mainly in winter, and among its guests were the scientists Galileo Galilei Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Agostini

    Palazzo Agostini, commonly known as Palazzo dell’Ussero or Palazzo Rosso (Red Palace), is one of the most beautiful palaces in Pisa and one of the main examples of Gothic architecture in Tuscany. The palace, belonging to the noble family Agostini Fantini Venerosi della Seta Gaetani Bocca Grassi, is home to the Caffè dell’Ussero starting with 1775, and houses the Cinema Lumière since 1899.   SHORT HISTORY In the first half of the 14th century, the Astajo family built their palace by merging two older buildings. In 1447, the heirs of Jacopo and Filippo Astajo ceded the palace to Antonio Primi. Later, the palace passed to the Florentine family Visdomini who, on 25 January 1465, ceded it to the brothers Antonio and Pietro, Pisan goldsmiths. In 1496, the palace was bought by Mariano and Pietro Agostini, belonging to a family of mercantile origin, specialized in the silk trade. The palace was restored in 1895 on a project of the architect Angelo Giannini. On May 12, 1895, the roof was added by Luigi Corona, on a design of the architect Luigi Del Moro.   ARCHITECTURE The facade, covered in terracotta tiles with a characteristic reddish color, from which the palace draws its Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi

    Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi is a palace located in Pisa, on the Lungarno Gambacorti, near the Church of Santa Cristina. The palace has recently become known as the Palazzo Blu (Blue Palace), because of the restored color of its plasterwork.   SHORT HISTORY On November 14, 1356, Doge Giovanni Dell’Agnello, owner of some properties in the area, obtained permission to enlarge some of his buildings, thus raising the first nucleus of the palace, a structure composed of large pillars, with two or more modules, joined to form ogival arches, filled with bricks and decorated with single mullioned windows. During the first Florentine domination, between 1406 and 1494, the building underwent considerable changes, due to the decline of the Dell’Agnello family. Passed to the Municipality at the end of the 14th century, it became the property of the Republic of Florence, which used it as the headquarters for the five supervisors of the occupied city, until it was given back to Giovan Bernardino Dell’Agnello. Towards the end of the 16th century, the complex was transformed by the families of Sancasciano and Del Testa. It was precisely Emilio Del Testa, who in 1593 radically transformed the building to a sumptuous late-Renaissance palace, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Canonica

    Palazzo della Canonica is a palace dating from the 16th century, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, in Pisa, near the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, across the square from the Palazzo della Carovana.   SHORT HISTORY In 1567, Cosimo I de’ Medici donated the medieval buildings standing between Via Ulisse Dini and Via San Frediano, to provide quarters for the important and influential division of the priests of the Order of Knights of Saint Stephen. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to design the palace, along with the whole new layout of the square, and David Fortini was the architect to built it. The works on the building lasted over forty years, because most of the funds available were directed to the construction of the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The interventions continued until the 17th century. Between 1604 and 1607, the rooms on the top floor were built, which were renovated between 1690 and 1692, with further additions at the middle of the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The long facade of the palace closely resembles that of the Palazzo della Carovana. Three rows of windows define its facade as a whole, masking the differences between the medieval buildings joined Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Lanfreducci

    Palazzo Lanfreducci, also called Palazzo alla Giornata or Palazzo Upezzinghi, after the 19th century owners, is a Mannerist or early Baroque-style palace on the Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, in Pisa. The building is now the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Pisa.   SHORT HISTORY Built at the behest of Francesco Lanfreducci, Knight of Malta and exponent of an important and ancient family of Pisa from the 13th century, the palace owes its present appearance to the Sienese architect Cosimo Pugliani, who suprevised the works between 1594 and the early 17th century. The Pisans called it Palazzo alla Giornata, inspired by the motto chosen by its owner. One of the many legends raised by the enigmatic motto alla Giornata (on the day of the battle) tells that, after a long imprisonment in Algiers, the Knight Lanfreducci placed that inscription above the door as a reflection on the precariousness of life. Behind the palace, there was a church called San Biagio delle Catene, owned by the Lanfreducci family. Torre dei Lanfreducci (Tower of Lanfreducci) is one of Pisa’s best preserved medieval towers, located in the internal courtyard of the palace. The tower, with a rectangular plan, was built in two Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Orologio

    Palazzo dell’Orologio (Palace of the Clock) is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the more famous Palazzo della Carovana and about 100 meters away from the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavaleri.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo dell’Orologio is an ancient medieval building where the Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided from 1357, when the palace already belonged to the Gualandi family. When the palace was built, it incorporated the famous Torre della Muda (or della Fame – Tower of Hunger) where in 1289 the Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca, along with his sons and grandchildren, died of hunger. The profile of the tower is still recognizable to the left of the central arch, where the 20th-century four-light window opens today. Starting with 1566, the palace housed the infirmary of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The health manager was called Bonomo, and for this reason the palace is also known as Palazzo del Bonomo. The current appearance of the palace dates back to 1605-1608, when two neighboring buildings were joined through an arch with a clock, according to a project of Giorgio Vasari from 1554. Between 1607 and 1609, Giovanni Stefano Marucelli and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Toscanelli

    Palazzo Toscanelli, known until the 19th century as the Palazzo Lanfranchi, is a Renaissance-style palace located on the Lungarno Mediceo, in Pisa, about 120 meters away of the Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici. Since 1913, the palace is the seat of the State Archive (Archivio di Stato di Pisa), which holds an impressive collection of documents from the archives of the Pisan Republic. Over time, the archive was enriched with documents from the Pisan monasteries or donations from private individuals belonging to noble Tuscan families.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the first half of the 16th century by Bartolomeo Lanfranchi. Another palace commissioned later by Alessandro Lanfranchi stands across the Arno river. In 1576, the palace was refurbished after a design by Francesco Mosca. Lord Byron lived in the palace between 1821 and 1822. From here, the English poet left for Greece, where he died in 1824. The Toscanelli family bought the palace in 1827. The current appearance of the building dates back to the same 19th century, when Palazzo Toscanelli was renovated by the architect Alessandro Gherardesca. Giovan Battista Toscanelli and his wife, Angiola Cipriani, lived in the palace, gaining over time a large and prominent art Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici

    Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici, formerly Palazzo Appiano, is a palace in Pisa, located on the Lungarno Mediceo, about 120 meters away of Palazzo Toscanelli. Today, Palazzo Vecchio de’ Medici is the seat of the Prefecture.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the 13th century, on the site of a previous building dating back to the 11th century. The Appiani family, lords of Pisa between 1392 and 1398, lived here until 1446, when the palace was bought by the Medici family. Lorenzo de’ Medici often stayed there, as he came to the Tuscan coast to cure his frail health. The King Charles VIII of France, guest of Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Piero the Unfortunate, resided in the palace in 1494, when Florence rebelled against Piero and he was exiled from the city. In 1539, the palace was the residence of Cosimo I de’ Medici. In 1574, Francesco I de’ Medici built a new Medici palace in Pisa, Palazzo Reale, and by 1784, the Medici Palace was sold to Jacopo Finocchietti. In 1871, the architect Ranieri Simonelli was comissioned by Vittoria Spinola, the morganatic daughter of Vittorio Emanuele II, to restore the palace. The architect transformed Read more [...]

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    Palazzo di Giustizia

    Palazzo di Giustizia is the seat of the Supreme Court of Cassation of Italy, located in Piazza Cavour, in Rome. The palace is commonly called the Palazzaccio (Bad Palace), due to its unusual dimensions, excessive decorations and laborious construction, which led, at the beginning of the 20th century, to the suspicion of corruption.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, one of the major works created after the proclamation of Rome as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, was built between 1889 and 1911 by the Perugian architect Guglielmo Calderini. The official inauguration of the works, with the laying of the first stone, took place on the afternoon of 14 March 1889, in the presence of the sovereigns Umberto I and Margherita. The palace was inaugurated 22 years after the beginning of the works, in the presence of the sovereign Vittorio Emanuele III, on 11 January 1911. At the end of the sixties, the cracks and collapses increased, a commission of specialists was established to decide the fate of the monument, and most of them called for its demolition. However, the demolition cost was enormous, and it was decided that the palace will be saved. In the seventies, the palace underwent Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Borsa

    Palazzo della Nuova Borsa Valori, better known as Palazzo della Borsa, is a historic palace in Genoa, located in Piazza De Ferrari. Built by the architects Dario Carbone and Amedeo Pieragostini, the palace has an architecture that recalls the neo-cinquecentesco style, while the interiors, by Adolfo Coppedè, are inspired by the Art Nouveau style.   SHORT HISTORY In 1855, a decree officially announced the birth of the Trading Exchange in Genoa, hosted by the Loggia di Banchi and the Palazzo Senarega, and administered by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. On June 27, 1905, a new company, Società Nuova Borsa, was born for the construction of the Palazzo della Borsa. The place where the building stands today was bought in 1906 by the company mentioned above, and the palace was inaugurated on 20 July 1912. In 1912, the Stock Market remained in the Loggia di Banchi, while the Stock Exchange moved to Piazza De Ferrari, in the new building of Palazzo della Borsa. With the computerization of the exchanges and the transition to the electronic system, the Genoese Stock Exchange closed on 28 February 1994. Today, the building is mainly used as an exhibition space.   ARCHITECTURE The monumental facade with Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is a historical palace in Genoa, the residence of the Doge since 1339 and, today, the main cultural center of the city, which offers exhibitions, conferences, festivals, shows and all sort of educational activities.   SHORT HISTORY After the Battle of Meloria against the Republic of Pisa and the Battle of Curzola against Venice, both fought at the end of the 13th century, Genoa became the superpower of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the economic leader of the region. Therefore, during those times, the city felt the need for a sumptuous representative palace and, in 1298, the building of the Doge’s Palace begun. Palazzo Ducale was built around the palace of Alberto Fieschi, with its Torre del Popolo (Tower of the People), which forms the original core of the complex. The Tower became one of the symbols of political power of Genoa, and the tolls of its bell announced the most solemn and tragic moments of the city. Starting with the 14th century, the Tower of the People became a dungeon for political prisoners, conspirators and anarchists, and remained a prison until the 20th century. The palace was named Ducale in 1339, when it became the seat Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Popolo

    Palazzo del Popolo, or Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, is an imposing palace in Orvieto, located in the homonymous square, Piazza del Popolo.   SHORT HISTORY The square was born around 1250 to host the Palazzo del Popolo, the palace which would welcome the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People), a political figure of the local administration in medieval Italy, established to balance the power and authority of noble families. It is believed that the palace was built on the initiative of the Neri della Greca family, on a pre-existing papal palace of 1157. Around 1250, the area was cleared and the existing constructions were demolished, so that a proper seat for the Captain of the People could be built, and Piazza del Popolo was born between 1281 and 1284. Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo was completed in the early 14th century, but the building saw changes and expansions in the following decades. The strange bell tower was built in 1315, and the bell which is now located on Torre del Moro was placed inside. Among the main rooms, there is the Sala dei Quattrocento, the hall that in 1596 was sold to the Faculty of Law, Theology and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Dario

    After you pass Peggy Guggenheim Museum, on Grand Canal, coming from the Ponte dell’Accademia, you have on your right a relatively small but very elegant building, built in a Gothic style with Renaissance elements, called Palazzo Dario or, closer to the Venetian language, Ca’ Dario.   SHORT HISTORY It is not known exactly when Palazzo Dario was built, but some say that it underwent a major reconstruction in 1487 and the architect Pietro Lombardo was the one who dealt with the project. The architect restored the palace for the Venetian Senator Giovanni Dario, an important man of those times, diplomat and trader alike. After the death of Giovanni Dario, in 1494, the palace was inherited by his illegitimate daughter, Marietta. Married to Vincenzo Barbaro, she has practically brought the palace to the Barbaro family, which already owned two palaces – one in the immediate vicinity (Palazzo Barbaro Wolkoff) and one on the other side of Canal Grande, closer to Ponte dell’Accademia, Palazzo Barbaro. Ca ‘Dario will be in the possession of the Barbaro family until the middle of the 19th century. After that, it will change its owners several times until 2006, when it will be bought by some Americans Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Barbarigo

    The palace with one of the most characteristic facades overlooking the Grand Canal, Palazzo Barbarigo, is located in the sestiere Dorsoduro, not far from the Ponte dell’Accademia, between Palazzo Da Mula Morosini and Campo San Vio.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Barbarigo was built in the 16th century, in the middle of the Renaissance. At the end of the 19th century, the palace became the headquarters of the Compagnia Venezia Murano, producer of glass and mosaics. The company renovated the building and had the facade covered with mosaics designed by the painter Giulio Carlini and applied in 1886 by Fratelli Testolini (Testolini Brothers), owners of the Fratelli Testolini company, specialized in the production of sculpted artistic furniture, glassware, mosaics, textiles and furnishing accessories.   ARCHITECTURE Palazzo Barbarigo is a typical sixteenth-century building, of beautiful proportions, with simple arched windows, juxtaposed at the center of the upper floors and linked horizontally by marble bands. The frieze between the upper floors shows thirty-five cherubs pursuing various arts, including painting, drawing, sculpture and architecture. The two murals commemorate the 16th century royal visits in Venice of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, speaking to Tiziano on the scaffolding of St. Mark’s Basilica, and of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne

    Approximately 250 meters to the Rialto Bridge, overlooking the Canal Grande, there is a palace known for the architectural structure of its ground floor, with a portico along the whole facade divided by very tall columns, Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne.   SHORT HISTORY The palace may have been built in the 13th century by the Grimani family, whose coat of arms is carved in an old well in the courtyard. Originally, it probably followed the Venetian-Byzantine style typical of the period. From 1661, the palace is attested as the property of the Zen family, and is named dalle Colonne (of the Columns). To them, we owe the partial rebuilding to a design by Antonio Gaspari, completed in 1697. In 1702, the palace was given to Ferdinando Carlo di Gonzaga-Nevers, the last duke of Mantua and Monferrato. He lived there from 1706, when he was exiled by the Austrians who emerged victorious from the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1712, the palace was bought by the Conigli family, nobles of Verona. It seems they have never used it and, two years later, in 1714, they sold it to the Michiel, already owners of various other properties. Like the Zen before, Read more [...]

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    Ca’ Vendramin Calergi

    Ca’ Vendramin Calergi is an imposing palace on the Grand Canal, in Venice, where the composer Richard Wagner died in 1883. Also, from 1950, Palazzo Vendramin Calergi hosts the oldest casino in the world, Casino di Venezia, established in 1638.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was commissioned in the late 15th century by the Loredan family to the famous architect Mauro Codussi. The building was his last work, brought to completion in 1509, five years after his death. In 1581, the palace was sold to the Duke of Brunswick and, after some legal troubles, in 1589, it was bought by a rich nobleman, Vettor Calergi, for his wedding with Isabetta Gritti. Vettor Calergi had only one daughter, Marina, who was married, in 1608, to Vincenzo Grimani. The palace passed, by inheritance, to the sons of Marina with the obligation to take also the surname Calergi. The three sons of Marina remained famous for their ferocity – after the cruel murder of Francesco Querini Stampalia, they were banned from the Republic and deprived of the property, but after a donation to the Senate for war expenses, they were reinstated in assets and titles. In 1739, for dynastic reasons, the palace passed to Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Flangini

    Palazzo Flangini is, practically, the first truly monumental building that you meet on the Grand Canal, in Venice, when you are traveling with the vaporetto from the railway station, heading to the Rialto Bridge. Near the Scuola dei Morti, the Flangini Palace consists of two-thirds of an unfinished building, probably designed by Giuseppe Sardi in the second half of the 17th century.   SHORT HISTORY It is said that the palace remained unfinished because one of the two brothers who inherited it, in spite of the other, had one of the wings destroyed, cutting the palace in half. The reality, much simpler and more prosaic, is that the old owner lacked the funds and was unable to buy the nearby area necessary for the completion of the building. The building have been built between the years 1664 and 1682 and is attributed to the architect Giuseppe Sardi by the art historian of the 18th century Tommaso Temanza, but some think it could be the project of Baldassarre Longhena. Currently, the building is divided into several private properties. Following an important restoration, the entrance hall and the portego of the building have been taken over by the Valorizzazioni Culturali society, with Read more [...]

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    Scuola dei Morti

    Scuola dei Morti (School of the Dead) is a small and charming building from the 17th century, overlooking the Grand Canal, in Venice, placed between Palazzo Flangini and the apse of the Church of San Geremia.   SHORT HISTORY The building belonged to the Congregazione della Santissima Madonna del Suffragio dei Morti, known also as the School of the Dead, a religious congregation that, in 1624, has joined the homonymous Confraternity of Rome. A few years earlier, in 1615, the congregation held meetings in the Church of San Geremia, until the parish priest gave them a piece of land in the ancient cemetery, to erect a chapel for the meetings, permission approved by the Venetian Senate in 1659. At the expense of the Savorgnan family, the school was built, but was then destroyed during an Austrian bombing in 1849. Today, after an integral reconstruction, the building is used by the parish of San Geremia.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the one-storey building is simple and has a skull in the center, between two large windows, with an inscription below reminding about the congregation of Scuola dei Morti.   HOW TO GET THERE The best place to admire the Scuola dei Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Malipiero

    Palazzo Malipiero is located on the eastern bank of the Canal Grande, just 100 meters away from Ponte dell’Accademia. Very close to Palazzo Grassi, separated only by the small San Samuele Square. The palace is famous, first of all, as the residence of Giacomo Casanova for a few years, when he was still a teenager. In the chambers of this palace, it seems, the Venetian lover learned the art of love that he will practice so tenaciously later.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, also known as Ca’ Grande di San Samuele, was built in the 11th century by the Soranzo family. At the beginning of the 15th century, the palace was in the possession of a powerful Venetian family – the Cappello family, following a marriage. By the mid-sixteenth century, the Cappello family comisioned the widening of the palace and the construction of the facade facing the Canal Grande, which still exists today. Also in the 16th century, through another union, the palace passes from the possession of the Cappello family to that of the Malipiero family. Like the other owners, the Malipiero family took care of the palace, being responsible for a series of changes after 1700. Starting with Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Gussoni Grimani Dalla Vida

    Found across the Canal Grande from Ca’ Pesaro, between Palazzo Ruoda and Rio di Noale, Palazzo Gussoni Grimani Dalla Vida is one of those historic buildings that support the architectural image of a city. Venice, to be a true open-air museum, needs each of these buildings, which, side by side, build a charming ensemble.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed by the architect Michele Sanmicheli and built between 1548-1556 for the Gussoni family. In the following century, the edifice served as the headquarters for the Accademia Delfica, founded in 1647 by Francesco Gussoni. After the death of the last Gussoni, in 1736, the palace, on the line of kinship, was given to the Minio family. In 1978, the building was sold to the Grimani family, and later, in 1814, it came into possession of the Dalla Vida family, recognized as the last owners, before the palace became the property of the Italian state. Between 1614 and 1618, the Gussoni Grimani Palace was the residence of the English diplomat Sir Henry Wotton, the Doge’s counselor at that time, and also the author of a limited number of poems and translations.   ARCHITECTURE The façade of the palace was initially adorned Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici

    Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici is a palace in Piazza Grande, in Arezzo, known as the headquarters of the Fraternita dei Laici, an institution founded in 1262, still active today and very involved in projects of social and cultural interest.   SHORT HISTORY The Palace, begun in 1375, was completed only in the second half of the 16th century. Between 1550 and 1560, the façade was finished with the construction of the balcony and the lunar phases of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic Clock, built in 1552 by Felice di Salvatore da Fossato. The part of the Palace towards the apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve was completed in the second half of the 17th century, following a project by Giorgio Vasari. The renovation of the Palazzo della Fraternita in 1781, supported by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena, led to the opening of the Library of Fraternity to the public. Today, the palace hosts the Fraternita dei Laici Museum, reopened in 2010.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The original painting of Christ from the external lunette of the central portal, replaced by a copy at the end of the 1970s, is now in the National Museum of Medieval and Read more [...]

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    Palazzo della Provincia

    Across the road from the Palazzo del Comune, there is another palace called Palazzo della Provincia, seat of the Province of Arezzo, one of the ten provinces of Tuscany. Together with the Palazzo del Comune and the Cathedral of Saints Donato and Peter, Palazzo della Provincia forms a complex very close to an ideal agora, where the main administrative centers of the city are concentrated, in a dominant position of the San Pietro Hill.   SHORT HISTORY On February 24, 1913, the administration of the Province decided to build its new headquarters, commissioning the engineer Giuseppe Paoli for this project. The project consisted in a new building to be used as offices and the restoration of two pre-existing buildings. The masonry work, carried out by the company Giuseppe Rossi of Arezzo, was started shortly after and ended only on September 27, 1925, with the official inauguration of the headquarters. Concerning the decorative works, the realization of the frescoes is entrusted, at the suggestion of the designer, to the painter Adolfo De Carolis, in 1922. The sketch is immediately approved and the works – started in the summer of 1922 and executed entirely by De Carolis, are concluded at the end Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Comune

    Palazzo del Comune, seat of the Town Hall of Arezzo, was built in 1333 as Palazzo dei Priori, on the top of the hill of San Pietro, a short distance from the Cathedral of Santi Donato e Pietro.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Comunale, located on the west side of Piazza della Libertà, was home to the supreme magistrature of the Comune of Arezzo. The original facade of the building, from the 14th century, can be seen from Via Ricasoli, as the rest of the structure has undergone numerous renovations over the centuries. In 1454, there was a first major renovation and, in 1466, the large clock was mounted on the tower. In the second half of the 16th century, a new makeover of the palace began after a design by the famous Florentine architect Alfonso Parigi, which ended in 1602. The layout of the stairs was changed and the large internal portico was built. In 1650, the façade collapsed and some frescoes painted by Lorentino d’Andrea were lost. The reconstruction was carried out by slightly withdrawing the front of the building. In 1715, a bell dedicated to the Madonna and San Donato was placed in the tower. The last major Read more [...]

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    Palazzo dell’Antella

    Palazzo dell’Antella is a building with a beautiful frescoed façade in Piazza di Santa Croce, in Florence, the result of the unification of several houses belonging to the Ricoveri family.   SHORT HISTORY The first significant expansion of the palace dates from the second half of the 16th century – the building was raised by a floor, including a mezzanine, and the wooden doors were replaced with stone ones, still visible today. The architect of the palace is thought to be someone from the circle of Baccio d’Agnolo. In the early 17th century, the palace passed to Senator Niccolò dell’Antella, through the dowry of his wife Costanza del Barbigia. In 1619, dell’Antella commissioned the architect Giulio Parigi to give a unified design to the properties the senator bought in Piazza di Santa Croce. To give a unified appearance to the adjacent buildings, he had the entire facade painted with frescoes. The paintings were made in just twenty days of work, between 1619 and 1620, by a team of thirteen young artists supervised by the painter Giovanni da San Giovanni. Dell’Antella died out in 1698 and, later, the palace passed by inheritance to Dal Borgo, then to Lotteringhi della Stufa and Read more [...]

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    Fondaco dei Turchi

    One of the oldest buildings in Venice, Fondaco dei Turchi, is located in Santa Croce, on the southern bank of the Grand Canal. From this strategic point of view, with an impenetrable mimic on its Byzantine style facade, the palace watches the gondolas passing by for almost 800 years.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1225 by Giacomo Palmieri, one of the members of the powerful Pesaro family. For certain political favors, the construction was given in 1381 to Nicolo d’Este, Marquise of Ferrara, and two centuries later, in 1621, it is owned by the Turkish merchants in Venice, who turned it into a warehouse and a residential space. The name that it bears today comes from that period, meaning in English The Turkish Warehouse. In 1838, the palace was abandoned by the Turks in a very bad state. It had to be another twenty years before the municipality decided to renovate it, and the mission was entrusted to the architect and engineer Camillo Boito. It seems, however, that after the reconstruction, the palace was adorned with two lateral Gothic towers that did not existed before, but keept the general lines of the initial construction. Since 1890, the Read more [...]

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    Ca d’Oro

    Commonly known as Ca d’Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia, located just across the Rialto Square, over the Grand Canal, undoubtedly remains the most beautiful Venetian palace. His name, translated into English as The Golden House, does not lie, because at origins, portions of the facade facing the Grand Canal were covered with this noble metal. Today, gold is missing, but the Venetian-style Gothic building still impresses, not so much by stature, but by the delicacy of its decorations. Currently, the palace hosts the Giorgio Franchetti art gallery, and it can be visited at the same time.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built between 1421 and 1440 for the Venetian merchant Marino Contarini. He closely supervised the work of several architects and sculptors, of whom we can mention the Venetians Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon, responsible for the decorations that adorn the palace, the Milan sculptor Matteo Raverti, and Marco d’Amedeo, probably the designer of the project. Marino Contarini died in 1441, leaving his only son, Piero, his entire fortune. Piero inherited, of course, the palace, which he will leave after his death to his daughters. A series of misunderstandings that followed led to the loss of the palace, which came in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Vescovile

    Palazzo Vescovile is a palace in Piazza IV Novembre, which incorporates a part of the old Palazzo del Podesta (the three arched gothic windows on the right), remains from the 16th century, before the palace was burned.   SHORT HISTORY On this place, between 1283 and 1292, Palazzo del Podesta (the Town Hall) was built. After a fire in 1329, it was rebuilt. In 1414, Braccio Fortebracci occupied the palace and he remained there until 1424, as Lord of Perugia. He built the Loggia which is now part of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The palace was later used by the papal governors of Perugia and, in 1534, when Ridolfo Baglioni conquered Perugia, Palazzo del Podesta was burned again. In the 16th century, Pope Pius IV allowed Cardinal Fulvio della Corgna to build two buildings on the site of the former Palazzo del Podesta – the episcopal seminary and the Palazzo Vescovile (the Bishop’s Palace). Later, between 1586 and 1591, the Cardinal Antonio Maria Gallo has made improvements to the palace.   HOW TO GET THERE Palazzo Vescovile is located in Piazza IV Novembre, near Palazzo dei Priori. The closest bus stations are in P.G. Matteotti, 250 meters away, and Read more [...]

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    Gritti Palace

    The majestic Gritti Palace is a palazzo located across the Grand Canal from the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, in the Sestieri of San Marco, Venice. A place of exceptional art and elegance, the restored Gritti Palace retains its reassuringly intimate and familiar feel. The Gritti Hotel is known for impassioned service, a delectable culinary experience and an intimate wellness haven. The reference point for the world’s elite at international city events such as the Biennale, Carnival and the Venice Film Festival. After a meticulous restoration, explore the hotel’s original wooden ceilings, original entrance flooring, dressing-table mirrors and 18th century wall lamps, hand-made in Murano, and more. The epitome of luxury, the Gritti Signature Suite Collection showcases the hotel’s rich historical past.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Pisani Gritti dates back to 1475 when the Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti, commissioned it. At first, the official residence of the Gritti family, the palace was later used as the residence of the Vatican ambassadors to Venice. Over the years, The Gritti Palace has welcomed many famous guests. It was home to successive noble families, such as the Pisanis and again the Grittis in 1814. Some years later it was sold to Read more [...]