Well worth making time to visit, it will take you back Venetian time.
This beautiful 13th century Byzantine Palazzo is one of the oldest and grandest on the Grande Canale, was originally known the House of Gold. It is a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture and is one of the most show stopping. It is an absolute must of places to visit, be aware it is not easy to find when on foot, we had been looking for it for years. Best to take the waterbus to the stop on the Grand Canal, if you arrive this way you will be blown away by the stunning façade.
This Palazzo commissioned between 1420 - 1460 by Marini Contarini a rich Venetian merchant, who intended it to be the most magnificent building in the city; built in Venice’s Golden Age, to resemble the Ducle Palace. After the first owner died, it had various owners and was bought in 1814 by Giorgio Franchetti, who devoted his life to restoring the Palazzo to its original grandeur, then donated the building/artworks to the State in 1916, and died in 1922. It is now also called ‘The Giorgio Franchetti Gallery’.
The front of the building is beautifully decorated with intricate carvings and the façade was originally adorned in gold leaf, is original and untouched, compared to the inside of the building which is quite austere with white walls.
The ground floor of this merchant’s house is large and impressive, and you will be impressed with the gorgeously decorated mosaic tiled floor. It was used as warehouse space, traders would approach the Palazzo from the Grande Canale. In the small courtyard you will notice the intricately decorated central water well made out of red marble from Verona, beautiful carved figures of Charity, Justice and Fortitude on the sides, plus a majestic staircase with several carved Moorish heads on it, look for the Contarini court of arms. The upper floor was used as office and where residents lived.
Once inside the Palazzo you will see it is full of fabulous tapestries, wonderful works of art and sculptures which are beautifully set out, with small cards with detail information on each exhibit. When you have viewed everything, walk to the front balcony for great views of the Grande Canale, you will get great photographs from here. There are many staff that are extremely friendly and very helpful with their immense knowledge. It is the best example of Venetian gothic architecture in Venice. Look time to look up to the roof, and see the
This is a lovely peaceful Palazzo away from the bustling outside
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