Historic house museum, this restored Venetian palazzo today hosts an itinerary dedicated to a local patrician family's life, the museum of perfume, and a research centre entirely devoted to textiles and costumes.
The house museum was established in 1995, and enlarged with the Perfume Museum in 2013, thanks to the perfume company, Mavive, and the Foundation of Civic Museums in Venice. Featuring a combination of two of the greatest manifestations of Venetian creativity, namely the art of making perfume (and soap) and decorated glass, the museum offers a collection of exquisite historical artifacts, as well as rooms just waiting to be discovered. There are also paintings, clothing from past centuries and, above all, a parfumer’s workshop dedicated to the art of perfumemaking both past and present.
The House Museum
Formerly the home of the Mocenigos – a noble Venetian family, gifting the city with seven Doges – this beautiful palazzo in the sestiere of Santa Croce, now hosts an interesting, charming museum featuring an itinerary dedicated to several aspects of the lives and activities of the Venetian nobility between the 17th and 18th centuries, including precious garments, and olden-day accessories. Inhabited by the Mocenigo family until the early 20th century, the palace was bequeathed to the City of Venice in 1945 by Alvise Nicolò, the last descendant of the family, on condition that it must be used as an art gallery. Restructured and renovated with a large number of artworks and furniture recovered from the warehouses of the Civic Museums of Venice, it was opened to the public as a house museum in 1995. The name is due to its important collections of fabrics and olden-day costumes.
The Perfume Museum
In 2013, thanks to a significant contribution from perfume manufacturer Mavive, whose portfolio includes The Merchant of Venice brand, the museum was once again revamped and enriched with a new section dedicated to perfume; an ode to Venice’s 16th-century status as Europe’s capital of perfume. Today, this section offers visitors an enlightening journey through six rooms featuring displays of artifacts and ancient documents, multimedia instruments and sensory experiences. The ground floor also hosts three new spaces: a Perfume Workshop, a Multimedia Workshop and the ‘White Room’ for temporary exhibitions.
Visiting the Perfume Museum
In addition to enjoying an olfactory experience and deepening their knowledge about the history of perfume, visitors will also have a chance to discover several treasures and rare objects.
Indeed, the palazzo rooms are now used as spaces for educational purposes, and feature olfactory stations designed to enlighten visitors about the history of perfume and essences.
One of the main attractions offered by the museum is a 2-hour course (including a visit to the museum) designed to teach visitors how to create and mix perfumes. Although you might not become an expert perfumer, you will be treated to a unique experience, which includes being offered a perfume kit to create your own special signature perfume!
This one-of-a-kind tour, dedicated to ‘old world Venice’, is suitable for people of all ages, and has been curated to enlighten the public about all aspects of the art of perfume-making; a fascinating mixture of alchemy, science and experimentation.
The Research Centre: the 'Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume'
The Palazzo became the Museum and Study Centre of the History of Fabrics and Costumes as soon as it was opened, due to its collections of fabrics and olden-day costumes originating from civic collections, and the specialized library. In particular, the library was set up in 1985 with the collections from the International Centre for Arts and Costume at Palazzo Grassi (acquired by the Venice City Council in 1981) and includes 6,000 fashion books and magazines published from the end of the Eighteenth century to our days, and an important collection of more than 13,000 figurines dated between the 18th and 20th centuries.