A city built on water. A city that lives and thrives in harmony with the water. Venice is much more than a place to visit. It is art, culture, beauty, and mystery, but first and foremost it is the incarnation of the perfect balance between man and nature. And its centuries-old palaces are an example of this. Here are the most stunning, not-to-be-missed ones on your next visit.
Giorgio Franchetti Gallery at Palazzo Cà D’Oro
As you may have guessed from the name, the façade of this Venetian palace once shimmered with gold leaf, which is why this masterpiece of the Venetian Renaissance is called “House of Gold” in Italian. Palazzo Ca’ D’oro—or Palazzo Santa Sofia—faces the Grand Canal and hosts the Franchetti Gallery. Baron Franchetti acquired the palace in 1894 and throughout his lifetime amassed an important art collection and personally oversaw its extensive restoration, including the reconstruction of the stairway and the “cosmatesque” courtyard with ancient marble. When visiting the museum, don’t miss the terraces and inner courtyard. Of special interest for opera lovers: the third act of Amilcare Ponchielli's opera La Gioconda is set in the palace.
Palazzo Grassi- Stucky
Also set on the Grand Canal, Palazzo Grassi is one of the most incredibly beautiful palaces in Venice. This was the last of the Venetian palaces to be built in 1766 when Napoleon Bonaparte was just around the corner. It is the only palace in Venice built in the Neoclassic style. Palazzo Grassi was purchased by the Fiat car company in 1984 and beautifully restored. Alas, they fell on hard times and today the building is owned by the wealthy Frenchman François Pinault, one of the richest men in the world. It is now also a museum which exhibits Pinault’s extensive art collection.
The Rezzonico family bought this Venetian Palazzo in the mid-eighteenth century and brought the top artists of the day onboard to decorate. Palazzo Ca’ Rezzonico boasts one of the most lavish interiors of any of the Venetian palaces. This building is also now a famous museum. Explore the artwork across the lower floors and don’t miss a trip to the attic and some stunning views of Venice. Literature and music lovers will note that poet Robert Browning spent two summers here and died in the palace in 1889, and Cole Porter rented the place from 1926 to 1927.
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
Known as the unfinished palace, this Venetian beauty was commissioned in 1749. In 1949, American billionaire Peggy Guggenheim purchased both the palace and the garden behind it. Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was her home for the next thirty years. After some remodeling, Guggenheim began opening up her home to visitors for limited amounts of time in the early 1950s. Following her death, the palace became a foundation and is now a museum that can be visited by the public.
Palazzo Corner Piscopia Loredan
This palace, featuring exquisite Byzantine arches, was completed in 1362 and is located near the Rialto Bridge. The site is famously known as the birthplace and home of Elena Lucrezia Corner Piscopia, the first world woman to earn a doctoral degree. Today Palazzo Corner Loredan serves as Venice Town Hall.
This Venetian palace was best known for its collections of antique Greek and Roman artifacts. Palazzo Grimani was opened to the public in 2008 and now often hosts modern art exhibits. Don’t miss the winged figure hovering in the air above the Tribuna room . . . . You will find the Castello Ramo Grimani at 4858, 30122 Venice.
The Fortuny Museum is located inside a Gothic palace built in the mid-1400s thanks to Benedetto Pesaro, then modified and expanded several times during the course of its history. The Spanish artist Mariano Fortuny purchased the palazzo in the nineteenth century when he moved to Venice from his native Spain, using it as both an atelier and a lab for his many famous processes and inventions. Very characteristic are the heptafore—that is, the seven openings of the façade in succession, both on the first and second floors. Inside you can admire beautiful wooden lintels and marble pillars.
The Ca' Sagredo is a fourteenth-century Byzantine-Gothic style palace located on the corner of the Strada Nuova and Campo Santa Sofia in the city’s area of Cannaregio. On the left side is the Palazzo Giustinian Pesaro. Purchased in 1661 by Ambassador Nicolò Sagredo, this Venetian palazzo was filled with Renaissance paintings and artworks. In his work, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems,” scientist Galileo Galilei has a conversation in this palace with his close friend, the mathematician Gianfrancesco Sagredo. Today it is a five-star, award-winning, and beautiful hotel with 42 stunning rooms on the Grand Canal.
Barbara Benzoni was born in Milan and lives between Rome and Tuscany. She is devoted to USA, the land of courage and innovation. She’s Peter's super-lucky mum and Ale's wife. Cinema, art, good food and only beautiful things are the themes of her existence. With a degree in Italian literature and a Masters in Sports Management she can both enjoys books and basketball matches. In 25 years she has been organizing sport events all over the world and she’s been lucky enough to meet the greatest champs ever. Curiosity in everyday life and people are her drivers. Her personal icon is Mohammed Ali : "It's not bragging if you can back it up".