This splendid Venetian palace is one of the few which is easily visitable by the public and it is home to the "Museum of 18th Century Venice". Approaching the museum from the vaporetto stop on the Canale Grande, you cross over a small wooden footbridge which leads to the main entrance on the Grand Canal.
The ground floor is devoted mostly to the ticket office, cloakroom (you can't take bags in to the museum), cafe and obligatory gift shop. At the furthest end of the ground floor from the Grand Canal you find the grand stairway which leads you up to the first floor. Here you find a magnificent ballroom which occupies the entire width of the building with extravagent chandaliers and frescos. All (I think!) of the rooms on this floor have frescoed ceilings by Giambattista Tiepolo and a collection of period furniture taken from other museums and palaces in the area in an attempt to restore this palazzo to what it may have been like back in the 18th century.
The second floor is mainly occupied by a display of 18th century paintings with some notable works displayed here, including Canaletto's View of the Rio dei Mendicanti , one of the few Canalettos in Venice. There is also an interesting display of frescoes from a villa at Zianigo to be found on this floor.
The 3rd floor is occupied by the Edigio Martini picture gallery, a collection of paintings donated to the city of Venice, and a reconstructed 18th century apothecary's shop which was interesting to me as a Pharmacist.
The façade is/was (2010) under restoration but the inside is open for visits. There is a wooden bridge giving direct access to the pontoon of the vaporetto stop Line 1, Ca' Rezzonico.
We were well pleased with this visit, our first, because not only is this museum interesting but the airco was working efficiently on the contrary of Museo Correr and Palazzo Ducale where visitors and attendants were sweating.
My only regret is that photos are not allowed. I would have liked to show here some remarkable objects on display like that wonderful marble head from Antonio Corradini (1668-1752) called "Dama Velata". This work of art in "transparent" marble merits the visit by itself to the Ca' Rezzonico (photo 2 from the web)
The visits begin with the large ceremonial staircase from Giorgio Massari to reach the large ballroom. The architect used the double height of the two main floors of the building. Amazing are the imposing statues of so-called ebony Ethiopian warriors with their white eyes in glass mosaic.
On the first floor eleven rooms contain paintings, sculptures, frescoed ceilings and collections of eighteenth-century furnishings. Some of them belong to the original Ca' Rezzonico others come from other Venetian Palaces.
The second floor is again spectacular with the long central hall called portego, typical of Venetian palaces.
Among the paintings-frescoes to be seen in the rooms of the palace, visitors like the contrast between the rococo paintings from Tiepolo on the ceiling of the Longhi Hall and the variety of small paintings by Pietro Longhi (photo 3 from web), showing the daily life of wealthy patricians and humble Venetians with domestic interiors which made me think of the well known Dutch "Genre paintings".
From the upper floor one has views on the San Polo and Santa Croce district (Photo 4).
Shall I add that on the ground floor you find information desk, ticket office, cloakroom, museum shop, cafeteria, and toilets (free).
Open: 1/11 - 31/03; 10.00 - 17.00 h.
1/04 - 31/10; 10.00 - 18.00 h
Closed on Tuesdays and on 25th December, 1st January, 1st May.
Full price 7,00 euro
Reduced 5,00 euro, children aged 6 to 14, students aged 15 to 25, citizens over 65.
We visited this museum with the San Marco Museum Plus ticket (see my tip).
Ca' Rezzonico was another one of my favourite attractions in Venice. This palazzo was designed around the middle of the 17th century by Baldassarre Longhena for the family of Filippo Bon in the Baroque style that was just beginning to replace Venice's floral Gothic style. Unfortunately, Filippo Bon suffered important financial problems just as construction began, and for over 100 years the palazzo was left unfinished. Both the owner and the architect would die without seeing more than the palazzo's first floor. The palazzo was eventually bought by the Rezzonico family who hired the architect Giorgio Massari to complete the palazzo according to its original design. Giambattista Rezzonico was what society called a "nouveau rich", meaning that he had bought his way into nobility, and he therefore felt a greater need to leave his mark on Venitian society. As soon as the palazzo was completed in 1756, he began making plans to lavishly decorate it with frescoed ceilings and a sumptuous ballroom, among other things, and turned it into one of the most beautiful 18th century palazzi in the city.
In 1935, Ca' Rezzonico became the property of the city of Venice, and it was decided to that it should become a museum dedicated to 18th century Venice. Furniture, paintings and other decorative objects were obtained from palazzi located all over the city, which are now harmoniously displayed in the museum. What I liked so much about Ca' Rezzonico is that unlike palazzi that have been transformed into art galleries, this one still looks like a house (albeit a rather grandiose one) first and foremost, so that we can imagine what life was like in an 18th century Venitian palazzo. I was also thrilled to discover that the palazzo once belonged to Robert "Pen" Barrett Browning, the son of English poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. The latter actually spent his last years with his son in Venice and passed away while staying at Ca' Rezzonico.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Tuesdays). Access to Ca' Rezzonico is included in the Venice Museum Pass, otherwise admission is 7 Euros.
The history of the palace started with the Bon family in 1682, and the was designed by Longhena and later by Massari to complete the palace. Due to Bons' financial problems, it was purchased by Rezzonico family in 1751 after is sat incomplete many years. After 50 years, the family died out, and the palace sold many times over 150 years, with even Robert Browning owning for a while. In 1935, Venice got possession and it became a museum.
The ground level is very large and has the information/ticket office, museum shop and cafeteria. There is an exhibit on display of Mestrovich, that is rather extensive. At the edge of this level is a grand staircase leading to the rest of the museum done by Giorgio Massari. I explain the detail because I was in awe of the many great paintings by famed artists and the furnishings and color throughout. The first floor holds a grand ballroom that is done in magnificent splendor. The ceiling frescoes were done by Crosato, which adds to the beauty. Many other rooms on the floor are as great to view, including the throne room with period gilded furniture and grand red walls, and an unbelievable ceiling frescoes by Tiepolo. A Lazzarini room ceiling consists of 5 oval, a pastel room is decorated in elaborate wallpaper and many paintings. The second floor corridor entrance holds a great number of frescoes by Tiepolo.
The museum is open 10-6 from end of March to early November. Individual ticket is 6.5 Euro. If you get a Venice museum pass for 18 Euro, you can visit this, all the famous St. Marks Square sites and other museums.
Ca' Rezzonico – the magnificent palace on Grand Canal in Venice is a public museum dedicated to 18th century Venice. It was designed by the greatest Baroque architect of Venice, Baldassare Longhena for the aristocratic Bon family, and work began on it in 1649. Longhena's death in 1682, almost at the same time as that of his noble client, together with the financial problems of the Bon family, stopped the work, leaving the palace incomplete. In the meantime, the Rezzonico family, originally from Lombardy, had moved to Venice and in 1687 had purchased a title. 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 it. Work proceeded rapidly and in 1756 the building was finished. It is quite interesting to mention that in 1748 Carlo Rezzonico, Giambattista Rezzonico's younger brother, became Pope Clement XIII. "Portrait of Clement XIII" painted by German painter Anton Raphael Mengs is one of the most brilliant paintings in the museum collection. In 1810, the Rezzonico family had died out with Abbondio Rezzonico. During the 19th century the palace passed through the hands of various owners. Among them was Robert Browning, British poet and playwright who had died in Ca' Rezzonico.
In 1935, after lengthy negotiations with the last owner of the palace Count Lionello Hirschell de Minerbi, a Member of the Italian Parliament – Ca' Rezzonico was acquired by City Council of Venice to display the vast collections of 18th century Venetian art, which lack of space prevented its display in the Correr Museum. Ca' Rezzonico was opened as a public museum in 1936.
To be continued in PART II…
[…] Another astonishing part of the museum is the one with frescoes by Giandomenico Tiepolo from villa in Zianigo, previously owned by the painter's family. Tiepolo's frescoes were placed in small rooms, in a recomposition that closely repeats the original one, though with some differences. The frescoes depict the stories of Pulcinella, a classical character that originated in the Commedia dell'arte of the 17th century – "The Swing of Pulcinella", "Pulcinella in Love", "Pulcinella and the Tumblers"…
The museum was enriched by two donations of paintings in 2001 – the first by Edigio Martini and the second by Ferruccio Mestrovich. The paintings of those two collections are exhibited on the 3rd floor and in the area made of the attic – the 4th floor.
Ca' Rezzonico is one of the finest Venetian museums. It is of very unique character because the objects designed for great palaces are displayed in a palace, thus the contents and the container harmonize in a way not possible in a purpose built museum.
[…] The highlight of the Ca' Rezzonico interior is the ballroom, the largest existing room in a private Venetian residence, measuring 14×25 m. The ballroom was created between 1752 and 1756 by Giorgio Massari and it has quite original appearance today. It extends over the two floors and it was probably inspired by the ballroom of Palazzo Zenobio created about half a century earlier by Antonio Gaspari. Even the central ceiling fresco has the theme similar to the one in Palazzo Zenobio – it is "Apollo's Carriage" painted by Giovanni Battista Crosato. But the most exquisite artworks in the ballroom are two ebony statues of "Ethiopian Warriors" made by Andrea Brustolon – "nude, very tall and virile, they are armed with clubs, have very white eyes in glass paste and each has a horse's head at his feet." In the room called Brustolon Room, among many of Brustolon's works, there is Vase-stand with Hercules and Moors – "Allegory of Strenght" – considered to be the greatest masterpiece of 18th century Veneto woodcarving.
In other richly decorated rooms there are ceiling paintings created in the Baroque manner with the aim to create illusions of limitless space, such as "Allegory of Merit Accompanied by Nobility and Virtue", "The Triumph of Zephyr and Flora"… by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo or "Triumph of Diana" by Gianantonio Guardi.
To be continued in PART III…
Ca' Rezzonico was acquired by City Council of Venice to display the vast collections of 18th century Venetian art, which lack of space prevented its display in the Correr Museum. The beautiful Palazzo is now the museum of 18th century Venice and is located on the Grand Canal in the Dorsodura District. Access to this museum is via its named Waterbus stop but you have to wander a few alleyways to find the entrance. The Palazzo contains not only paintings but also frescoes, furniture, statuary, and many other artifacts from opulent 18th-century Venice. It also gives us access to some great views of the Grand Canal and the neighborhood. The most impressive room inside Ca' Rezzonico is the ballroom, the largest existing room in a private Venetian residence, measuring 14m by 25m.
[…] Among the other artists presented in the museum are two female painters – Rosalba Carriera ("Portrait of a Gentleman in Red", "Portrait of Faustina Bordoni Hasse"…) and her pupil Marianna Carlevaris ("Portrait of Gerolamo Maria Balbi"…), Bernardo Strozzi ("Portrait of Cardinal Federico Cornaro"…), Canaletto ("Grand Canal", "Rio dei Mendicanti"…), Giovanni Battista Piazzetta ("The Death of Darius"…), Francesco Zuccarelli ("Landscape"…), Bernardino Castelli ("Portrait of the Nobleman Francesco Falier"…)…
Very special is the Longhi Room with 28 paintings made by Pietro Longhi, Venetian painter of contemporary scenes of life. Among the paintings are "The Rhinoceros", "The Letter of the Moor", "The Family Concert"…
To be continued in PART IV…
This magnificent palace, now the Museum of Eighteenth-Century Venice, was designed by the greatest Baroque architect of Venice, Baldassare Longhena for the aristocratic Bon family, and work began on it in 1649. As soon as the building was completed, the most important painters in Venice were called upon to decorate it: Giambattista Crosato, who painted the frescoes in the ballroom together with the trompe l'oeil painter Pietro Visconti; Giambattista Tiepolo, who painted two ceilings in celebration of the marriage between Ludovico Rezzonico and Faustina Savorgnan; the young Jacopo Guarana and Gaspare Diziani.
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 - scarcely fifty years later - the family had died out. For the palace and its great heritage of art and history this was the beginning of a long, troubled period of sales and dispersions.
Stripped of its furnishings, which were subdivided among the heirs and then sold, the palace passed through the hands of various owners in the nineteenth century; purchased by the English painter, Robert Barrett ("Pen") Browning, it was chosen as a residence by his father, the writer Robert Browning, who died there. It was subsequently taken over by Count Lionello Hirschell de Minerbi, a Member of the Italian Parliament, who, after lengthy and complex negotiations, sold it to the Venice Town Council in 1935.
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