All SEE in Venice

There are so many attractions in Venice… Only in the St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), we can find the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco), the St. Mark’s Bell Tower (Campanile di San Marco), the Correr Museum, and the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri).

The most important churches in Venice are Il Redentore, the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, the Church of San Pietro di Castello – the former Cathedral of Venice, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Church of San Zaccaria, and the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

The most important palaces are Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Palazzo Grassi, Ca’ Pesaro, and Ca’ Rezzonico. Other important attractions are the Rialto Bridge (Ponte Rialto), the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, the Accademia Gallery (Gallerie dell’Accademia), and last but not least, the Grand Canal (Canal Grande).

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    Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana

    Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana is a palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is known above all as the residence of Joseph Smith, the British consul in Venice between 1744 and 1760. John Smith was also a patron of arts and a collector, the agent of Canaletto for several years and the facilitator for the purchases of his works by the British aristocrats.   SHORT HISTORY Originally, the palace was a Byzantine Gothic building, owned by the Trevisan nobles from 1518 to 1666, and later by the Ceffis family. In 1740, the palace became the seat of the English Embassy and the residence of Smith, and it was transformed according to the taste of the era. In 1743, the painter Antonio Visentini designed the new facade of the palace and started the works, which were completed in 1751. Smith died in 1770, and the palace was sold by his widow to the Count Giuseppe Mangilli in 1784. The count added the two top floors and entrusted the redecoration of the interior to the architect Giannantonio Selva, who also built the La Fenice Theater. Later, the palace was sold to the Valmarana family. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni in Bragora

    The Church of San Giovanni in Bragora is a church in Venice, located in Campo Bandiera e Moro, in the Castello district (sestiere).   SHORT HISTORY Although the first document mentioning the church dates back to 1090, it seems that the structure was built earlier, in 829. The church was rebuilt in the 10th century, under Doge Pietro III Candiano, to house some presumed relics of Saint John the Baptist, to which is dedicated, and again in 1178. In 1464, when Pietro Barbo became Pope Paul II, the church was restructured according to a late Gothic style by the architect Sebastiano Mariani, taking its current form. The works lasted thirty years, from 1475 to 1505, at the end of which it was reconsecrated, as it is shown on the facade, on the lintel above the entrance, under the lunette. In 1481, the chapel dedicated to Saint John the Merciful was built, which houses the precious relics of the saint since 1249. Over time, the bell tower of the church collapsed several times. The first structure, from the 9th century, underwent a major renovation between 1475 and 1498, only to be demolished in 1567 due to its precarious condition. Rebuilt in Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti

    Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti is a palace in Venice, located in the sestiere of San Marco, in the immediate vicinity of the Accademia Bridge. Since 1999, it belongs to the Venetian Institute of Science, Letters and Arts, which hosts frequent cultural events.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in Gothic style in the second half of the 15th century by the Marcello family. It was inhabited later by the Gussoni and the Cavalli families. In 1847, the palace was ceded to the young Archduke Friedrich Ferdinand of Austria, who initiated a series of works for the modernization of the building. Later, the palace passed to Enrico, Count of Chambord, who commissioned the architect Giovanni Battista Meduna to renovate the structure. Meduna redesigned the palace, which became one of the emblems of the 19th century in Venice. In 1878, the building was bought by the Baron Raimondo Franchetti. Franchetti started a radical restoration under the direction of the architect Camillo Boito. In September 1922, the widow of Raimondo, Sarah Luisa de Rothschild, sold the building to the Istituto Federale di Credito per il Risorgimento delle Venezie, which proceeded to a new phase of works and functional adaptations.   ARCHITECTURE The palace is Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Dolfin Manin

    Palazzo Dolfin Manin is a palace overlooking the Grand Canal, not far from the Rialto Bridge, located in the sestiere of San Marco, in Venice. Today, the palace houses the Venice branch of Banca d’Italia.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in 1536 by Jacopo Sansovino for the Dolfin family, by merging two pre-existing buildings dating back the Middle Ages. In 1801, the palace became the residence of the noble Manin family. Ludovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, commissioned the architect Giannantonio Selva to make important modifications to the palace. The architect eliminated the inner courtyard and replaced the entry staircase with a more sumptuous one in Neoclassical style. In 1797, Ludovico Manin accepted the surrender to the French army of Napoleon. After that moment, he lived for another five years segregated in the palace. The palace remained the property of the Manin family until 1867, when it passed to Banca Nazionale del Regno. Some restorations were carried out between 1968 and 1971, and a further restoration was completed in 2002.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace was built between 1538 and 1547 by the great architect Jacopo Tatti, known as Sansovino. It is characterized Read more [...]

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    Church of San Marcuola

    The Church of San Marcuola is a church dedicated to Saints Hermagoras and Fortunatus, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The church is situated across the Grand Canal from the Fondaco dei Turchi. The name Marcuola comes from the Venetian pronunciation for Hermagoras.   SHORT HISTORY The current church was built in the 12th century on the site of an ancient church from the 9th century, thanks to the contributions of the Memmo family, owners of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. In 1663, minor changes were made to the structure. Later, the architect Antonio Gaspari presented a new renovation project, but the works were started only after his death, under the direction of the architect Giorgio Massari. In 1736, Giorgio Massari managed to complete the interior of the church, but the facade remained unfinished. In 1779, the church was consecrated for the last time by the Patriarch Federico Maria Giovanelli.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a single nave with a square plan, covered by a barrel vault. The presbytery was created from a semicircular apse, and is practically the vestibule of the beautiful rectangular main chapel, surmounted by an oval dome, supported by four columns. Read more [...]

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    Casa dei Tre Oci

    Casa dei Tre Oci (House of Three Eyes), also known as Casa di Maria, is a palace overlooking the Giudecca Canal, located near Le Zitelle, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, on the Giudecca island, in Venice. The name of the palace comes from the three large windows on its facade, which resemble three eyes (òci meaning eyes in the Venetian dialect).   SHORT HISTORY Casa dei Tre Oci is a 20th century palazzo linked to many illustrious names. It was built between 1912 and 1913 by the painter Mario de Maria, who made it his new Venetian residence. The painter, wanting to commemorate his beloved daughter Silvia, who disappeared a few years earlier, built the house with three large windows on the facade, representing the three surviving members of his family: himself, his wife Emilia Voight and his son Astolfo. The mullioned window placed above them symbolizes the deceased daughter. In this palace, after the death of de Maria, people linked to the art world stayed and lived, like the architect Renzo Piano. In 1970, Enrico Maria Salerno set some scenes of the film The Anonymous Venetian in the palace. Today, the palace is owned by Polymnia Venezia, a company Read more [...]

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    Church of Spirito Santo

    The Church of Spirito Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit) is a church located on the Zattere promenade, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY In 1483, the monastery of the Augustinian nuns of the Holy Spirit was founded on this place, with a church enclosed within its walls. From the beginning, the monastery distinguished itself by scandals caused by the nuns, documented by the archives of the time. In the first decades of the 16th century, when the foundations of the Zattere were settled on the Giudecca Canal, the monastery was restructured in a radical way. The old church was demolished to make room for the cloister and, in 1506, the construction of the current church began, with the facade oriented towards the Giudecca Canal. At the same time, near the church, separated from it by the Calle Larga della Chiesa, the building of the School of the Holy Spirit was also started.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has a poorly proportioned structure: the portal and the two side windows on the ground floor apparently denote an initial project focused more on the width of the building than on its height, while the second Read more [...]

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    Faro di Murano

    Faro di Murano is a lighthouse located in the southern area of the Murano island, in the Venetian Lagoon.   SHORT HISTORY Since the time of the Venetian Republic, there has always been a lighthouse on the island. At first, it was built as a wooden tower, on whose top a fire was lit, with the light being reflected by mirrors. A first true lighthouse was built here in 1912, a metal tower on piles which was deactivated in 1934, when the current lighthouse was erected. The current lighthouse was designed and built in Istrian stone by the engineer Mario Moro. Until the 1960s, the lighthouse worked on gas, and then it was powered by electricity. Today, the ignition is automated and, like all the lighthouses in Italy, is managed by the Italian Navy.   ARCHITECTURE The current lighthouse is more exposed to the lagoon than the previous one, and was surrounded by stone boulders to protect it. In the lower part, there are two bas-reliefs, depicting two Madonnas, one located above the entrance door of the lighthouse, the other on the opposite side, towards the lagoon. Black stripes were painted in the upper part, to facilitate visibility in fog. Read more [...]

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    Attila’s Throne

    On the island of Torcello, in the square in front of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, there is an ancient stone chair named Attila’s Throne. One legend has it that, during the Huns invasion of Italy, their King Attila, known as the Scourge of God, arrived on Torcello, where the inhabitants of the nearby Roman city of Altino found refuge, and used the throne. In reality, Attila never set his foot on the island. Another legend says that if you sit on the throne, you will certainly return to Torcello sooner or later, but our suspicion is that it has nothing to do with the stone… If it happens to come back to Torcello at some point, you will do it just because this wild island remained in your heart.   SHORT HISTORY Though it is named Attila’s Throne, the chair has nothing to do with the King of the Huns. The stone chair dates back to the 5th century, when the first settlers arrived on the island. The throne probably served as the seat of the Bishop of Torcello or that of the governor of the island.   HOW TO GET THERE You can get to Torcello by Read more [...]

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    Ponte del Diavolo

    Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge) is one of the two bridges which still exists on the island of Torcello and, at the same time, one of the only two bridges without parapets still found in the Venetian Lagoon, the other being Ponte del Chiodo, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY Recent archaeological studies confirmed that the bridge was built in the 15th century, on the site of a previous narrow bridge from the 13th century. The origin of its name was not yet established. Some locals claim to come from the surname of a local family, Diavoli, and others remember the legend of a pact with the devil that a young man made in the 19th century, during the Austrian occupation of Venice, to recover his dead lover. On August 6, 2009, the radical restoration of the monument was completed, with an intervention that rigorously maintained the original structure, reinforcing the arch of the bridge.   HOW TO GET THERE To get to the island of Torcello, from Burano, you can take the waterbus Line 9. From Venice, you can take the waterbus Line 12. Ponte del Diavolo is located across the Canale Maggiore, about Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Fosca

    The Church of Santa Fosca is a church dedicated to Saint Fusca of Ravenna, located on the island of Torcello, in the Venice Lagoon, part of the largest complex of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Saint Fusca of Ravenna was a child martyr killed along with her nurse, Maura, around 250 AD, in Ravenna, under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that a church dedicated to Santa Fosca existed on this place since the first half of the 9th century. Around 1000, the building was part of the larger project promoted by the Bishop Orso Orseolo, for the reconstruction of the entire complex of the cathedral. The building received its current appearance around the 12th century, when it was rebuilt to house the relics of the christian martyrs Fosca and Maura, arrived from Sabratha, in Africa.   ARCHITECTURE The church, with a circular plan, is an example of the Venetian-Byzantine style. It stands outside the remains of the ancient city square, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the remains of the ancient baptistery. The church is surrounded by a portico on five sides. The arches are supported by columns with Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Miani Coletti Giusti

    Palazzo Miani Coletti Giusti is a beautiful palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is adjacent to the wonderful Ca d’Oro.   SHORT HISTORY The palace, as engraved on the facade, was built in 1766. The palace was own in turn by the Miani family, by the Coletti and the Giusti. Today, together with Ca d’Oro, it houses the art museum Galleria Giorgio Franchetti.   ARCHITECTURE The palace has a light green facade, work of the painter and architect Antonio Visentini, and is built on four floors. Overall, in the architecture of the facade we can find various allusions to the style promoted by the architect Andrea Palladio. The building has some peculiarities, such as the presence of the four water portals surrounded by Doric semicolumns and separated by three niches containing statues depicting personalities of the time, of the many single-lancet windows that replace the typical mullioned windows, of a cornice with an unusual arch in the middle and of an imposing dormer between two terraces with balustrades. The top floor is characterized by the presence of two circular niches closed by triangular tympanums.   HOW TO GET THERE The closest Read more [...]

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    Palazzetto Foscari del Prà

    Palazzetto Foscari del Prà is a small palace in Venetian Gothic style overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The palace is located near the Church of Santa Sofia, at equal distance between Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne and Ca d’Oro.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the second half of the 15th century. In 1488, the Foscari family bought the building from the Longin family. In 1520, the ambassador of Mantua and Duke Federico Gonzaga resided in the palace for a certain period of time. In the early 1700s, the prominent German merchant Sigismund Streit lived in the palace. After being owned by the Del Prà family, the Giannetti Hotels Group bought the palace in 2003 and transformed it in a 4-Star hotel.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, without particular architectural merit, is noticeable due to the Gothic asymmetric polifora (window divided by multiple columns) located on the main floor (piano nobile). The polifora, decorated with Bourbon lilies in half relief, is flanked by a single lancet window to the right. On the ground floor, separated from the upper floors by a cornice, there is a water portal characterised by an ogival Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Cavalli

    Palazzo Cavalli, also known as Palazzo Corner Martinengo, is a palace overlooking the Grand Canal, located in the sestiere of San Marco, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The palace was built in the 16th century and underwent several renovations in the following centuries. At the beginning of the 16th century, Bartolomeo d’Alviano lived there, great military leader of the Venetian Republic, who distinguished himself in the defence of the city against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. In 1521, following the marriage of a daughter of Alvise Corner with Agostino Contarini, the palace passed to the Contarini family. Around 1830, the palace was inherited by the Mocenigo family, who, in turn, sold the building in 1858 to Maria Dorotea Ulbricht. From her, Palazzo Cavalli passed to the Cavalieri family and later to the Ravenna family. In the 19th century, it was the place where the American writer James Fenimore Cooper lived for a while. Initially transformed into a hotel, the palace is now home to the Tide Forecast and Warning Center of the Municipality of Venice.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the palace, an example of Venetian Gothic style from the 16th century, is three stories high. The ground floor has Read more [...]

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    St. Mark’s Campanile

    Saint Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in Venice. The bell tower is by far the most important attraction of the city and one of the most famous symbols of Italy.   SHORT HISTORY On the place where the bell tower stands today, there was a watchtower or a lighthouse built in the 9th century. The structure was remodeled in the 12th century, and again in the 14th century, during which architects from Holland and France were called to reinforce the building. The tower, already seriously damaged in 1489 by lightning, which destroyed its wooden cusp, was seriously hit by an earthquake in March 1511, making it necessary to start its consolidation. The works, initiated by the architect Giorgio Spavento, were carried out under the direction of the architect Pietro Bon, and were completed on July 6, 1513, with the placement of the gilded wooden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Over the centuries, many interventions were made to the tower, often to repair the damage caused by lightning. Due to its height and the iron structures that reinforced it, the Campanile was a natural lightning rod. Finally, in Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Rosario

    The Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as I Gesuati (the Jesuates), is a church located on the Fondamenta delle Zattere, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice. The Gesuati name comes from the religious order of the Jesuates, suppressed in 1668, which owned a large convent in the area, later bought by the Dominicans.   SHORT HISTORY The Compagnia dei Poveri Gesuati (Company of the Poor Jesuates) was formed at the end of the 14th century, and in 1432 began the construction of the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione and of the adjacent convent. With the dissolution of the order, the complex passed to the Dominicans, who shortly after began the construction of a new larger church further along the Zattere. The church was built between 1726 and 1735 by the architect Giorgio Massari, with the collaboration of Giambattista Tiepolo and Gian Maria Morlaiter, and was consecrated on September 29, 1743, by the Patriarch Alvise Foscari. With the suppression of the religious orders of 1810, the church became a parish church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The Classical facade is divided into three parts by semi-columns with composite capitals and completed on the sides by composite Read more [...]

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    Church of San Pietro di Castello

    The Church of San Pietro di Castello is a church in Venice, which, until 1807, it was the city’s cathedral. The church is located on the northeastern area of Venice, in the Castello district (sestiere), not far from the Arsenale.   SHORT HISTORY As reported by the chronicler Giovanni Diacono, the building of the Church of San Pietro began around 822, and was completed nine years later, probably in 831. In 1120, a fire devastated the church, and a new larger structure was built, with a baptistery next to it dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist), now lost. In 1451, with the suppression of the Patriarchate of Grado and the constitution of the Diocese of Castello of the Patriarchate of Venice, by the bull of Pope Nicholas V, the Church of Saint Peter became the new Cathedral of Venice. Between 1508 and 1524, the Patriarch Antonio Contarini decided to carry out restoration works on the ceiling, the vaults and the floor of the church. Between 1512 and 1526, the minor chapels were rebuilt and the decorations were redone. In 1558, the Patriarch Vienzo Diedo commissioned Andrea Palladio to rebuilt the facade and the interior of church. However, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Dario

    After you pass the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, on the Grand Canal, coming from Ponte dell’Accademia, you have on your right a relatively small but very elegant palace, built in 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

    Palazzo Barbarigo is a palace in Venice, located in the Dorsoduro district (sestiere), between Palazzo Da Mula Morosini and Campo San Vio. The palace has one of the most characteristic facades overlooking the Grand Canal.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Barbarigo was built in the 16th century, in the middle of the Renaissance. Near the end of the 19th century, the palace became the headquarters of 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 16th-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 Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) on the scaffolding of St. Mark’s Basilica, and of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo di Rialto

    Only a few meters away from the Rialto Bridge, in the San Polo district (sestiere), there is a church considered to be the oldest in Venice, the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, popularly known as San Giacométo.   SHORT HISTORY According to tradition, the church was consacrated on March 25, 421, but the studies have shown that it was built much later. In a document of 1097, the place is mentioned, but without the church, and the first reliable information dates back to 1152. It seems that the church was consecrated only in 1177 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani. In 1513, the church escaped the serious fire that devastated the nearby Rialto Market. In 1531, it underwent a restoration, and again in 1601, after an order of the Doge Marino Grimani, with the floor being raised to face the high water. Currently, the Church of San Giacomo is a rectorial church, dependent on the parish of San Silvestro.   ARCHITECTURE Interesting are the exterior with the bell-gable, the large clock and the Gothic porch, one of the last examples of this kind left in the city. The clock, added to the church in 1410, was restored in 1749, and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Barnaba

    The Church of San Barnaba is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the district (sestiere) of Dorsoduro, in Campo San Barnaba. The church has a facade inspired by a Greek temple, and is famous for being featured in a few scenes of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 936, on the place of a previous church, San Lorenzo, which was probably built at the beginning of the 9th century. Because of the numerous fires, the Church of San Barnaba underwent several reconstructions, until it was finally consecrated on December 6, 1350. The current appearance dates back to 1779, when it was completed the renovation work began in 1749, on a project by the architect Lorenzo Boschetti. In 1810, in full Napoleonic domination, the parish was suppressed and the church was deconsecrated. It was later converted into a permanent exhibition space dedicated to the machines of Leonardo da Vinci.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, designed by Lorenzo Boschetti, was built in 1749 in a Classical style, with Corinthian style columns. The interior has a single nave, with six side altars, three on the right and three on the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Rocco

    The Church of San Rocco is one of the four plague churches in Venice, along with San Giobbe, San Sebastiano and the Salute. The church was built for the Confraternity of San Rocco, founded in the plague year 1478, with the mission to help the poor and the sick, particularly the people suffering from the disease. San Rocco is the only Venetian church designed as a sacrarium for the remains of its titular saint, St. Roch, whose body is preserved within the high altar.   SHORT HISTORY A church was standing on this place before 1485. The new church was built after a design by the architect Pietro Bon, starting with 1489. In March, 1490, the left side-chapel of the presbytery was finished and ready to receive the remains of St. Roch, which were to be brought from San Silvestro. A competition for the construction of the high altar was won in 1517 by Venturino Fantoni, who designed a reliquary-altar, developed in Venice by the sculptor-architects Pietro and Tullio Lombardo. After 1680, the church was almost entirely demolished and rebuilt between 1726 and 1733 by the architect Giovanni Scalfarotto, who kept only the fifteenth century chancel and the ground-plan of Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne

    Approximately 250 meters from the Rialto Bridge, overlooking the Grand Canal, 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 was built in the 13th century by the Grimani family, whose coat of arms is carved on an old well in the courtyard. Originally, it probably followed the Venetian-Byzantine style typical of that period. Starting with 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 in 1714 they sold it to the Michiel family, already owners of various properties in Venice. Like the Zen before, this line Read more [...]

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    Church of San Stae

    The Church of San Stae stands on the right bank of the Grand Canal, as you come from Piazzale Roma, heading to Piazza San Marco, between Palazzo Vendramin Calergi and Ca d’Oro, at an equal distance. Its external facade, characterized by rich decorations, faces the Canal Grande, and you can not pass beside it on a vaporetto without at least one admirative look.   SHORT STORY The church is said to have been built in 966 and dedicated to Sant’Eustacchio (San Stae, in the Venetian dialect). St. Eustacchio was the commander of Trajan’s army, who would have seen a crucifix between the antlers of a deer, while hunting. The first reference is in a document from 1127, where the church is remembered as a filial parish of San Pietro. This original church, rebuilt in the 12th century following a fire, was demolished in 1678. The current church was built by Giovanni Grassi, who realigned it to face the Grand Canal.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade, which has the form of a temple, with an imposing triangular pediment, supported by columns resting on high pedestals, was built by Domenico Rossi in 1709, whose design was the winner of a competition. 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, since 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, completed 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 the great Read more [...]

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    Church of San Geremia and Santa Lucia

    The Church of San Geremia and Santa Lucia is a church in Venice, located on the left bank of the Grand Canal, as you are heading to Piazza San Marco, right before its confluence with Canale di Cannaregio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Geremia was founded in the 11th century by Mauro Tosello, who used it to house the arm of Saint Bartholomew brought from Apulia in 1043. The church was dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah, an old testament figure. The church was rebuilt in 1174 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani, and reconsecrated only in 1292. Later, the church was demolished, and rebuilt again in 1753, by Carlo Corbellini, a Brescian priest and architect. The first mass was celebrated on April 27th, 1760, during the final works of reconstruction. Following the damage made by the Austrian bombardment of 1849, two new facades were built in the second half of the 18th century, one facing Campo San Geremia (Saint Jeremiah Square), and the other one oriented towards the Cannaregio Canal. A chapel built in 1863 contains the relics of the Sicilian Santa Lucia, stolen by Enrico Dandolo during the Sack of Constantinople, which, in 1204, marked the end of 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. Located near 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 was built between 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 the aim of 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 a palace located on the eastern bank of the Canal Grande, just 100 meters away from Ponte dell’Accademia. The palace is 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 Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Gussoni Grimani Dalla Vida

    Found across the Grand Canal 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 and 1556 for the Gussoni family. During 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, in the line of kinship, was transfered 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 facade of the palace was Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria e San Donato

    Also known as the Duomo di Murano, the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato is one of the oldest buildings in the Venetian lagoon. Of byzantine conception, the church preserves the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo, martyred in the 4th century after Christ, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus.   SHORT HISTORY A document from the year 999 shows that the church had been built in the 7th century, when many refugees from the continent arrived on the Murano Island. Initially, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and later, in 1125, when the relics of St. Donatus were brought from Cephalonia, it received a second patronage. The church, apparently, has been rebuilt at that time, in a Byzantine style, in the form that resisted, to a large extent, until today. The mosaic inside is marked with the year 1141, when these reconstruction works were completed. In the 18th century, the church was redecorated in Baroque style and later, between 1858 and 1873, a return to its original style was attempted. This development of the building was condemned by several voices, because the result was a hybrid between the 12th century style and the Read more [...]

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    Le Zitelle

    Most of the tourists who visit the island of Giudecca are attracted by Il Redentore, the famous creation of Andrea Palladio, and only a few know that the island hosts another church attributed to the great architect, the Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione, popularly known as Le Zitelle.   SHORT HISTORY Le Zitelle is part of an ecclesiastical complex set up by the Jesuit Benedetto Palmi, to provide shelter to beautiful young girls (zitelle) from poor families, who otherwise would become prostitutes. Poor virgins were taken in and trained in lace and music making. They were protected until the age of 18, when they could choose between marriage or becoming nuns. If they chose marriage, a husband was found and a dowry was provided. The church was built between 1581 and 1588 by the architect Jacopo Bozzetto, after a project belonging to Andrea Palladio, which was initially intended for another location. The assignment of the church to Andrea Palladio is somehow controversial. Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio argues that in the absence of the documents that would link Palladio to this creation and because Palladian style is not very clear in this structure, the project could Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

    There are many churches in Venice, and many are beautiful, but few impress like the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It may be the place, because not many churches have their own island, or it may be the bell-tower, probably second in height after the one in the Saint Mark’s Square, but we can easily believe that, among all, the inspiration of Andrea Palladio matters probably the most.   SHORT HISTORY In 982, the Doge Tribuno Memmo donated the island of San Giorgio Maggiore to a benedictine monk, who will establish here a monastery. The church, built five years later, from brick and wood, will last until 1223, when it will be severely damaged by an earthquake. The Doge Pietro Ziani will fix it, only to retreat to the island a few years later. In 1109, the relics of St. Stephen will be brought here from Constantinople, and the annual celebration held on 26 December, on the saint’s day, will become one of the most popular Christian holidays in the Venetian calendar. The church we see today was begun by Andrea Palladio in 1565 and completed after his death, in 1610. The one who finished the project was, apparently, Vincenzo Read more [...]

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    Il Redentore

    When you are looking at the Giudecca Island, from Zattere, your eyes are attracted by the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore or, commonly known, Il Redentore (The Redeemer). The church impresses at first from the distance, thanks to its massive structure, but only in front of it you will be able to discover the details that complete one of the most valuable architectural creations of the Venetian Renaissance.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague epidemic of 1575-1577, that killed over 50,000 Venetians, the Senate of the Republic decided to build a church to celebrate the end of the scourge and to thank the Divinity. The mission was entrusted to the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who was to begin the construction in 1577 and to leave it, after his death in 1580, to Antonio da Ponte, who would complete it many years later, in 1592. After the church was finished, the Venetian Senate established that every July, a pontoon will be built to link Zattere with the Giudecca island. In time, this tradition will become an important celebration for the Venetians, known as Festa del Redentore.   ARCHITECTURE Considered the most beautiful church built by Palladio, Read more [...]

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    Fondaco dei Turchi

    One of the oldest palaces in Venice, Fondaco dei Turchi is located in the district of 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. Two centuries later, in 1621, it was bought 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 Read more [...]

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    Ca’ d’Oro

    Commonly known as Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia, located just across the Rialto Market, overlooking the Grand Canal, undoubtedly remains the most beautiful Venetian palace. Its 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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    Santa Maria della Salute

    On the southern bank of the Grand Canal, near to its end leading to St. Mark’s Basin, one of the most beautiful churches of Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was built in the 17th century. A symbolic picture of the floating city, that appears in many of the documentaries about Venetian architecture, but also in many paintings left by famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and, of course, Canaletto.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague of 1630, which is said to have killed nearly a third of the population of Venice, the Venetian senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a competition between several architects of that time, the project was entrusted to the young Baldassare Longhena. The construction began in 1631, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was to be completed very late, not until 1687, five years after Longhena’s death. Every year, on November 21, Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. The Venetians build a bridge over the Grand Canal, from San Marco to Dorsoduro, where locals go to worship the Virgin Mary, and Read more [...]

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    Bridge of Sighs

    Looking at the Bridge of Sighs from Ponte della Paglia, we can still imagine Casanova going over the Rio di Palazzo, from the prison to the Doge’s Palace, sighing for freedom. The Venetian adventurer, who was arrested in 1755, would escape a few months later from prison, but for many others, this route over the Bridge of Sighs probably offered the last glance to the outside world.   SHORT HISTORY The Bridge of Sighs (“Ponte dei Sospiri”, in Italian) was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Antonio Contino, on the order of the Doge Marino Grimani. Antonio Contino, the successor of another famous architect, Antonio da Ponte (the creator of the Rialto Bridge), has built between 1600 and 1603 this baroque construction from white limestone to link the New Prison and the Doge’s Palace, where the prisoners were taken to be judged. The bridge became famous in the 19th century because of Lord Byron, who painted it romantically in a poem called Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Over time, the Bridge of Sighs will become a well-known Venetian symbol with bitter-sweet connotations, mixing the suffering and the desire for freedom of those who crossed it, with the hope of Read more [...]