The stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal between the Rialto Bridge and the Bacino includes some of the city’s finest buildings. Owners of these buildings invested great effort and funds into creating impressive facades facing the Canal.
The five buildings shown here — with the dome of the church of Santa Maria de la Salute and a tiny slice of the former Abbazia di San Gregorio in the background — are, left to right, Palazzo Genovese, Palazo Benzon, Palazzo Salviati, Palazzo Barbaro, and Palazzo Dario.
I will be posting or writing more on these buildings. For now, here are some notable points:
- The Palazzo Genovese is a 19th-century building designed to resemble a Gothic Palazzo, modeled mainly on the Ca’ d’Oro.
- The Palazzo Salviati is also a late addition to the Canal (built in 1903), this time in imitation of a Renaissance building. It was owned by a glass-making family, and features a handsome large glass mosaic (added 1924).
- The Palazzo Barbaro is a true gothic construction (ca. 1440) with a quirky, assymmetrical facade.
- The Palazzo Dario is to me the most interesting of these buildings. It was modernized from an earlier gothic house in 1487 (with a couple of major restorations in later centuries). Patricia Fortini Brown, in Private Lives in Renaissance Venice, discusses it as an example of early Renaissance moving away from the traditional Gothic forms. (Unfortunately, her photo has an extreme blue cast that gives a misleading impression of the building.)I’ll have more to say about the Palazzo Dario later, but for now I’ll note that the palazzo has a reputation as a house of ill fortune. In the twentieth century, one of its owners went bankrupt, one was assassinated, and three committed suicide.