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.
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, this line also assumed the dalle Colonne name.
In 1716, the palace hosted the prince Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, the future king of Poland, and the duke Carlo VII di Baviera, future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1775, most of the interior decorations, probably made by Michelangelo Morlaiter and Francesco Zanchi on the occasion of the wedding between Marcantonio Michiel and Giustina Renier, were added to the building.
In 1879, the property passed to Giustina Renier’s nephew, Leopardo Martinengo, and was later inherited, in 1884, by Donà delle Rose.
In the 1930s, the building was sold to the Provincial Federation of Combination Fasci and housed the Venetian Fascist Movement. After the World War II, the palace was converted into the Chamber of Labor, under the name of Ca’ Matteotti, but in 1954, the building was vacated and returned to the Italian State.
The building underwent restoration work between 2002 and 2003.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest waterbus station is Ca’ d’Oro, about 250 meters away, that can be reached with the vaporetto Line 1 ACTV. If you need a map to get to the palace, use the one below.