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.
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 Fondaco dei Turchi hosted the Correr collection, but after 1923, the collection was moved to a permanent place, closer to the heart of Venice, in San Marco Square.
Today, the palace houses the Museum of Natural History, where you can find dinosaur and mammoths fossils, and a huge aquarium with over 50 species of fish and molluscs. If you would like to visit the palace, you could do that by visiting also the museum.
HOW TO GET THERE
The easiest way to do this is to take the ACTV Line 1 from Piazzale Roma to the San Stae Station. If you are not in Piazzale Roma, look for ACTV Line 1. If you dare to search it on foot, use the map below.