Ca' Rezzonico Palace

Venice, Italy

Ca' Rezzonico site was previously occupied by two houses belonging to the Bon family, one of Venice's patrician families. In 1649 the head of the family, Filippo Bon decided to build a large palazzo on the site. For this purpose he employed Baldassarre Longhena, the greatest proponent of Venetian Baroque. However, neither architect nor client was to see the completion of the Palazzo Bon: Longhena died in 1682, and Filippo Bon suffered a financial collapse.

Giambattista Rezzonico, merchant and banker, bought the palace in 1751 and appointed Giorgio Massari, one of the most highly esteemed and eclectic artists of the day, to complete the works, which proceeded rapidly and in 1756 the building was finished. While the magnificent facade on the Grand Canal and the second floor followed Longhena’s original project, Massari was responsible for the audacious inventions towards the rear of the palace: the sumptuous land-entrance, the ceremonial staircase and the unusual grandiose ballroom obtained by eliminating the second floor in this portion of the building.

As soon as the building was completed, the most important painters in Venice were called upon to decorate it. These were for example Giambattista Crosato, who painted the frescoes in the ballroom and Giambattista Tiepolo, who painted two ceilings in celebration of the marriage between Ludovico Rezzonico and Faustina Savorgnan.

The building was fully complete by 1758, when Giambattista Rezzonico’s younger brother, Carlo, Bishop of Padua, was elected Pope under the name Clement XIII: this was the peak of the family’s fortunes and the palace at San Barnaba celebrated the event in grand style. But by 1810 no family members were left. For the palace and its great heritage of art and history this was the beginning of a long, troubled period of sales and dispersions. After complex ownerships Ca' Rezzonico was sold to the Venice Town Council in 1935.

Ca' Rezzonico opened as a public museum in 1936. Today, it is one of the finest museums in Venice; this is largely because of its unique character, where objects designed for great palazzi are displayed in a palazzo, thus, the contents and the container harmonise in a way not possible in a purpose built museum. Thus, today the palazzo is more sumptuously furnished than ever before.

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Details

Founded: 1649
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Graham Way (20 months ago)
A magnificent Palazzo housing the finest art collection I have seen in along time. The information there provided are excellent and the staff incredibly helpful. The garden at the back a perfect quiet end to the visit. Do not miss, easy to find with own ActV vaporetto stop
laura coroian (21 months ago)
The museum was very interesting. You can see here artwork, furniture and beautiful decor rooms. We got the museum pass and it was defentlly worth spending time in this museum.
Angus Adams (21 months ago)
This was my second visit to Ca'Rezzonico and I would recommend it to those wanting to see grand art and design of Venice. It is not a preserved house in the purest sense. There's a beautiful ballroom and other rooms with original fittings, but also a collection of art and furniture from around Venice installed into one house. The curators have done an excellent job and you wander from room to room in awe of the beautiful ceilings and decoration. The top floor is made up an art collection set out in gallery form. It's a poor way to finish what is an excellent tour as the art isn't close to the standard of the rest of the house. I'll be honest, we enjoyed the gallery, but we were mainly laughing at some pretty awful paintings!
Neil Stevenson (2 years ago)
This is a huge collection, there are treasures and artworks aplenty, there's so much that we struggled to see everything. If you're short of time, start at the top floor and work downwards. We had half a day here and it wasn't enough. Five stars because of the quality and quantity of stuff on show, but you should visit this place and give it your own rating.
François Marquis (2 years ago)
Great museum, mostly dedicated to paintings and old furniture. The audioguide is well commented and offered in many different languages. It takes around 2.5 hours to thoroughly visit everything. Please note that many of the famous paintings usually displayed here (like the rhino) are currently elsewhere, in different international expositions. This is why I removed one star. By the way, don't worry, there's not a lot of people here... Very different from the Basilica, for example.
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