The Ca’ Rezzonico’s courtyard garden offers a rare opportunity for a Venetian picnic – it can be accessed via the canal-side gate.
There is perhaps no palazzo in Venice which better exemplifies the well-aged grandeur and unabashed opulence that characterises the city. The wealthy Venetian patron Giambattista Rezzonico had bought his noble status during a period when the city was desperately short of money in the wake of a protracted war with Turkey. He decided that he needed a home befitting his new status, and to that end decided to buy a half-finished mansion on this prime location on the Grand Canal.
Baroque around the Clock
The palazzo was completed by Giorgia Massari, who continued the original plans drawn up by the master of Venetian Baroque, Baldassarre Longhena. As a result, the whole place oozes 17th century charm, with a broad marble staircase, lavish reception rooms and intricately carved and polished fittings at every turn.
The finest of the house’s vast spaces is undoubtedly the Throne Room. Its gorgeous painted ceiling, depicting Merit entering the Temple of Glory, is one of Giambattista Rezzonico’s finest works, and the spectacularly ornate gilt throne for which the room is named rarely fails to impress. Stunning frescos can be found on the ceilings of the state rooms downstairs, sitting high above the seemingly numberless painting by great Venetian artists of the day.
It is some measure of the extravagance of the Ca’ Rezzonico that it was rented by the famously flamboyant Cole Porter during the 1920s - for the sum of $4000 per month – and used as a venue for an endless stream of wild debauches. These days, things at the palazzo are rather more proper – it was officially opened as a public museum in 1936.
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