A VENETIAN ‘PALAZZO’: CA’ REZZONICO
& THE 18TH CENTURY
A Venetian “Palazzo”:
Ca’ Rezzonico and the 18th century
Highlights of this tour:
The Ball Room
Giambattista Tiepolo ceilings
The original glass chandeliers
Two Vedute by Canaletto
The frescoes from the Tiepolos’ Villa at Zianigo
The Apothecary’s Shop
Frequent temporary exhibitions of objects, furnishings, porcelains and more
Situated on the right bank of the Grand Canal, in the Dorsoduro district, Palazzo Rezzonico is one of the most flamboyant private residences in Venice.
Today’s visitor is invited to relive the last splendors of Venice’s great patrician families.
The architecture of the Venetian palazzo evolved from meeting the practical needs of noble merchant owners to combining trading headquarters and warehouses with living accommodations for his family, and servants.
The unique physical limitations of the city also had an enormous impact on palace architecture: for example most important homes have two entrances, one on the street, and one on a waterway.
The owners of the house used to leave by gondola, rather than by foot. Taking the street entrance along the picturesque San Barnaba canal, we can admire the monumental water entrance and spectacular view of the Grand Canal.
We then climb the great ceremonial staircase to enjoy the famous ballroom, the rooms masterly frescoed by Giambattista Tiepolo, and a spectacular collection of rococo furnishings, superb glass chandeliers, and ceramics.
On the second noble floor we admire the room of the Alcove, the Palazzo Calbo Crotta green-lacquered drawing room in Chinese style, and the only outstanding Canaletto still existing in Venice.
The witty interior paintings by Pietro Longhi and by Gianantonio Guardi will provide a lively insight on the lifestyle and social habits in 18th century Venice: the use of masks and its meaning, the new fashion of drinking chocolate, and more.
On the top floor we will see a completely reconstructed 18th century apothecary’s shop, with all the original vases, alembics and vials.
» More about this tour
Originally commissioned by Baldassarre Longhena for the Bon family it had yet to be completed at Longhena’s death in 1682.
The huge unfinished property was acquired many years later by the Rezzonico, a Lombard family that had recently joined the Venetian nobility.
It was completed in 1756 by the architect Giorgio Massari, who added the ceremonial staircase and an enormous ballroom to the original project.
The wealthy Rezzonicos had the house decorated by the most fashionable artists of the day.
The most prominent members of the family who lived in the house were the State Procurator Ludovico Rezzonico (who married the fabulously rich
Faustina Savorgnan) and Carlo Rezzonico, elected Pope in 1758 as Clemens XIII, one out of just five Venetian Popes.
The last Rezzonico died in 1810 and the Palazzo suffered several modifications, with most of its original furnishings dispersed.
The famous English poet Robert Browning lived (and died) in the house. American composer Cole Porter rented it for a month in 1920.
In 1935, due to economic difficulties, its last private owner, the extravagant art lover Count Lionello von Hierschel de Minerbi, had to bequeath it to the City Council.
Today it displays the vast public collections of 18th century Venetian art, mostly from other palaces and villas.
» Read less