Guidebook The palaces that became grand museums

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The palaces that became grand museums

“The classic Venetian house remains the palace of the old aristocracy,” writes Jan Morris in her book Venice. The finest of them line the Grand Canal, their architecture a neat biography of three distinct periods -- the Byzantine, the Gothic and the Renaissance. “The palaces became symbolic of wealth and success, the most gloriously ostentatious way of keeping up with the Contarinis,” she writes, “transforming the Grand Canal into a register of the Venetian nobility.”    

Venice’s most iconic palace museums include:  

Museo Correr: “Dedicated to Venice’s civic history … named after Venetian aristocrat Teodoro Correr, whose last will and testament bequeathed many of the items in the collection.” (Tripsavvy)  

Ca’ d’Oro: “One of the most notable examples of late Venetian Gothic architecture, which combined the existing threads of Gothic, Moorish and Byzantine architecture into a unique aesthetic that symbolized the Venetian Republic’s cosmopolitan mercantile empire.” (arch daily)  

Ca’ Pesaro: The venue of the International Gallery of Modern Art, this palazzo “was built in the second half of the seventeenth century for the noble and wealthy Pesaro family by Venetian baroque architect Baldassare Longhena.” (My Art Guides)  

Ca’ Rezzonico: Designed by famous Venetian architect Baldassare Longhena, “the Rezzonico offers an intriguing look into what living in a grand Venetian home was like in the last days of the Republic.” (Reids Italy)  

Palazzo Grassi: Dwarfing San Samuele is the Palazzo Grassi, which became famous in the twenty years it was run by Fiat for blockbusting exhibitions … in 2005 it was acquired the phenomenally wealthy François Pinault, who has continued to use it as an exhibition space”. (Rough Guide)

Ca’ Corner: This stately Renaissance palace is home to Fondazione Prada and " has become a year-round destination for contemporary art.” (Architectural Digest)  

Palazzo Venier dei Leoni: Peggy Guggenheim’s Venice home was designed by Lorenzo Boschetti for the noble Venier family, although construction was abandoned almost as soon as it started. It remains to this day a “palazzo incompiuto: the unfinished palace – and it’s easy to see why.” (Suitcase magazine)

The Palazzo Querini Stampalia: Home to the Querini Stampalia Foundation, an organization supporting the arts in Venice. In 1949 Venice’s most famous architect, Carlo Scarpa, was hired to renovate the palazzo … his solution “was to move people, like water, cascading them up and down various levels while suspending them above the actual water.” (Design Life Network)

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