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

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

tassos k (2 months ago)
You can admire some paintings and also masterpieces from Canalleto. Antique furniture and house hold are displayed. They have a coffee shop with tables at the entrance in front of the Gran Canal. We enjoyed the view by having a break to eat something.
Andreas Saldivar (3 months ago)
Very nice museum with amazing art, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, and ceilings. You'll spend much of your time looking up. The ticket is part of the Venice museum pass. Getting that will save you some money and get you into numerous museums.
Isabella Tiger (3 months ago)
Seeing how houses looked and were made in that century was very neat. It was included in the tourist city pass. I highly recommend stopping by. The little café was wonderful as well and the little sandwiches were great. The seating for it is right along the water. The water is station is also right next to the place which is very helpful.
Owe Richard (6 months ago)
Great museum. Impressive ceiling, artwork, furniture. The chandeliers are especially magnificent. Even the views from the residence and out to the canal below gave a magical feeling of how it must have been to live here. Toilets do not work. Some of the staff are very helpful and friendly.
Chessie Siese (6 months ago)
We bought tickets in advance for only €11 and chose the earliest time of 10am, and it wasn’t crowded at all. The staff were so helpful with directions/questions. The only issue we had was that one of the rooms had some works going on for an exhibition, but no info about it, and the 3rd floor was closed also. However, this is really worth a trip to visit. We spent an hour looking round; a lot to see and info sheets in each room, in various languages.
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