In the Castello sestiere, on Ruga Giuffa, you can visit a truly unique ‘palazzo’ whose interior is reminiscent
of the splendours of ancient Rome.
Built in the 16th century by members of a noble Venetian family, Palazzo Grimani is a testament to its owners’ passion for archaeology. The Grimanis built the palace to house their collection of more than 150 ancient statues, creating a place that harkens back to the time of ancient Rome. For this reason, the ‘palazzo’ differs from the typical architectural style of Venetian residences, even boasting a Roman-style courtyard. The Grimani family, whose ancestors include a Doge and a bishop accused of heresy, hired the best artists of the period to build their ‘home’ and create a unique masterpiece inspired by ancient Rome.
Memories of ancient Rome
Following restorations that lasted for twenty years, the palazzo, which had been abandoned for many years, was recently restored to its former splendour and re-opened to the public. Its decorated ceilings recall the frescoes of domus romane: grotesques inspired by those unearthed in the 16th century at Rome’s famous Domus Aurea and mythological scenes frescoed on the walls. The palace’s most admired space, the Tribuna, has niches where the Grimani’s collection of ancient sculptures used to stand.
It was something of a wonder room that was flooded with light from a central lantern. The Grimani’s important collection was eventually left to the Republic of Venice and is now housed at the city’s Museo Archeologico. There are plans to relocate at least a part of the collection to its original home after being temporarily exhibited at Palazzo Ducale. For now, a statue of Didalus and Icarus has been returned to its original position in the middle of the Stanza della Tribuna (see photo) so that visitors can re-experience the impact that these rooms – unlike any others found in Venice at that time – must have made.
OPENING DAYS AND HOURS:
Tues-Sat 8.15am-7.17pm; Sun 2pm-7pm
Full ticket 5 euros
reduced ticket 2 euros
Tickets are available at the Palazzo’s ticket office.