Layer upon layer of differing architectural styles come together to form the magnificent Doge's Palace. A symbol of the Venetian government and political heritage, the historic palace was once the seat of the Doge, the chief magistrate of the former Republic of Venice. The foundations of the complex were laid during the 14th Century. Through the years, the palace was repeatedly reconstructed, extended and restored, creating a mix of artistic and architectural styles ranging from the Medieval to the Renaissance. A masterpiece of Gothic design, the palace is replete with exquisite details like sculptures, frescoes, arches and graceful columns. The original Doge's Apartments, the Armory, the Prisons, the Courtyard and Loggias have all been beautifully restored, with numerous hidden treasures around every corner. This historic icon also houses the Museo dell'Opera and its extensive art collection.
Just around the corner from the Galleria dell'Accademia, on the Grand Canal is one of Venice's premier museums. This world-famous museum is run by the same institution, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, that manages the renowned Guggenheim Museum in New York. Peggy Guggenheim, was interested in contemporary art and came into contact with various artists who guided and educated her, including Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp. This museum houses her collection of contemporary art such as works by Bacon, Balla, Brancusi and Chagall. You'll also find masterpieces by the likes of De Chirico, Kandinsky, Klee, El Lissitskj, Magritte, Man Ray, Picasso and Pollock.
Located on the Grand Canal, Cà Rezzonico was the last building planned by famous Baroque architect Baldassare Longhena. The interior is a reconstruction of an 18th-century palace, with original restored furnishings. The Venetian decor is splendid, particularly in the ballroom with its stunning trompe l'oeil, and the nuptial room, which has richly decorated dressing tables. Today, it is a museum dedicated to the Venice of the 18th Century and comprises beautiful fixtures as well as many works of art. There are frescoes by Tiepolo and paintings by Guardi, Canaletto and Longhi that are worth checking out.
Within the old Hospital of San Francesco lies a unique museum, dedicated to medical science. Museum of the History of Medicine of Padua or MUSME in short, showcases through its exhibits the history of medical practices that were used back when the hospital was still functional. Highly informative, the exhibits are also closely linked to the University of Padua.
The Ca' d'Oro is a beautiful Gothic structure that served as a home to a highly influential family in the 15th century. Built for the Contarini family, the structure is called the Palazzo Santa Sofia and more casually got the name Ca' d'Oro, which means ‘golden house’ or ‘house of gold’, because of the chrome decoration and gold inlays on the exterior. Giovanni Bon and Bartolomeo Bon, his son, were the architects on the job as well as the sculptors and they created a beautiful Gothic structure that is still talked about because of its style. Through the years, a few private owners destroyed some of the original structure. Then when Baron Giorgio Franchetti became the owner, he restored what was destroyed and now it is almost as good as it was when the original architects made it. The house is now restored and is open to the public. It is now known as the Gallery Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro. It houses the Baron’s personal art collection, and also showcases the original furniture and decor.
In the middle of the Ghetto, amongst the synagogues, this museum tells the story of the Venetian Jewish community through the use of objects and works connected to religious life. In particular, goblets, jugs, basins, spice holders, silver and drapes for the Torah can all be found here. It is not a large museum but it contains many precious religious items. The guides are well-qualified, and offer private as well as group tours, in many languages.
The foundation of Fondazione Querini Stampalia was laid in the year 1869. It was made to order by Venetian Querini Stampalia family's last successor Conte Giovanni. The exteriors and interiors were made by the well known architect Carlo Scarpa. It holds paintings of famous artists and also exhibits contemporary art. For schedule and information on group tour visit website.
A unique aristocratic palace, Palazzo Grimani was the family house of Antonio Grimani. The charming, historic structure still stands out with its original architecture and gorgeous decorations and is now home to several splendid artworks. The permanent collection here comprises of masterpieces by Mannerists such as Francesco Salviati, Francesco Menzocchi, Camillo Mantovano and Federico Zuccari to name a few. Even without the unusual art that adorn its walls, each room inside this palace is comprises of opulent stuccowork and beautiful frescoes that any art enthusiast wouldn't want to miss. Unique in its architecture and the treasure trove it houses, Palazzo Grimani makes for a brilliant visit.
What today is Museo Fortuny was once the house of Mariano Fortuny, friend and colleague of D'Annunzio. He was a set designer, inventor, fabric manufacturer and photographer of Catalan origin and transformed this former Gothic palace like a theatre set. It is a vision of furnishings, objects, textiles and ornaments from the beginning of the last century. Admire beautiful paintings, photographs, fabrics and light fixtures. It is open only when the temporary exhibitions are on, but is worth a visit.