From the traghetto (jetty), you can access the street behind, which has a number of pretty cafes and restaurants.
In the golden years of the Venetian republic between the 13th and 18th centuries, the city’s enormous wealth and power was mostly concentrated in the hands of a few important families. Not content with merely being among the richest people in Europe, these families built lavish palazzos (mansions) along the Grand Canal in a series of ongoing attempts to outdo one another. No expense was spared in their efforts to demonstrate the depths of their civic pride and historic connection with the city, and the result is a stunning array of houses for the modern visitor to enjoy.
The Grandest of the Grand
One of the most famous of these is the Ca’ d’Oro, located in the very middle of the Grand Canal’s lazy meander. Its classic Venetian Gothic design, with three floors of loggie (open-air corridors) facing out onto the water, immediately grabs the eye with its beautiful stone arches and intricately textured façade. Sadly, the gold-leaf inlay for which the house is named has long gone. The ground floor loggia features an open-water access point, meaning that visitors can actually enter the house by boat, before stepping off onto the entry area within.
A Superb Gallery
Inside is a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and tapestries, many of which were moved here from elsewhere in Venice by Napoleon during his conquest of Italy. The finest of these are Andrea Mantegna’s San Sebastiano and Titian’s Venus with a Mirror. The latter is sadly missing the eponymous mirror, having had its right side cut off at some point, and is also thought to be a study for the famous version which hangs in Washington D.C.’s National Gallery of Art.
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