Cà d'Oro Palace

Venice, Italy

Palazzo Santa Sofia is known as Ca' d'Oro ('golden house') due to the gilt and polychrome external decorations which once adorned its walls.

The palace was built between 1428 and 1430 for the Contarini family, who provided Venice with eight Doges between 1043 and 1676. The architects of the Ca d'Oro were Giovanni Bon and his son Bartolomeo Bon.

Following the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, the palace changed ownership several times. One 19th century owner, the ballet dancer Marie Taglioni, removed the Gothic stairway from the inner courtyard and destroyed the ornate balconies overlooking the court.

In 1894, the palace was acquired by its last owner, baron Giorgio Franchetti; throughout his lifetime, he amassed an important art collection and personally oversaw its extensive restoration, including the reconstruction of the stairway and the Cosmatesque courtyard with ancient marbles. In 1916, Franchetti bequeathed the Ca' d'Oro to the Italian State. It is now open to the public as a gallery: Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca' d'Oro.

The principal façade of Ca' d'Oro facing onto the Grand Canal is built in the Bon's Venetian floral Gothic style. Other nearby buildings in this style are Palazzo Barbaro and the Palazzo Giustinian. This linear style favoured by the Venetian architects was not totally superseded by the Baroque one until the end of the 16th century.

On the ground floor, a recessed colonnaded loggia gives access to the entrance hall directly from the canal. Above this colonnade is the enclosed balcony of the principal salon on the piano nobile. The columns and arches of this balcony have capitals which in turn support a row of quatrefoil windows; above this balcony is another enclosed balcony or loggia of a similar yet lighter design.

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Details

Founded: 1428-1430
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

heriberto velez (18 months ago)
One of the most beautiful palace in Venice!
satish. chekuri (2 years ago)
Quiet museum without the usual tourist crowds. Easily accessible via the vaporetto Exceptional art gallery situated in a historical building. It is very close toate the vaporetto station and the orice 11 euro per person.
mundo aureo (2 years ago)
Outstanding palace (and nice museum) by the same architect which designed the Ducal Palace. Free in the first Sunday of the month.
William Pickett (2 years ago)
Quiet museum without the usual tourist crowds. Easily accessible via the vaporetto with mainly Italian works from the renaissance period, but also a fine collection of Dutch paintings on the second floor.
John Cetra (2 years ago)
One of the most iconographic structures in Venice. The spaces are monumental but all the artwork is comfortable in their settings. Make sure to see the marble floors in the ground floor open courtyards. Breathtaking!
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