The Venice Casino was founded in 1638 and is recognized as the oldest gaming house in the world. The first Venetian gambling house, the Ridotto di San Moisè, was founded in 1638. At the end of the 1930s, the Venice Casino was inaugurated at the Lido. In the fifties it also opened the headquarters of the Historic Center at Ca 'Vendramin Calergi, a building overlooking the main waterway of Venice, the Grand Canal, where the Casinò di Venezia still resides. In 1999 a new headquarters was inaugurated, Ca 'Noghera, the first American casino opened in Italy.
Casinò di Venezia - Ca' Vendramin Calergi History
The Casinò di Venezia is housed in Palazzo Loredan Vendramin Calergi, briefly Ca 'Vendramin Calergi, is a Venetian palace, located in the Cannaregio district and overlooking the Grand Canal between Casa Volpi and Palazzo Marcello, in front of Palazzo Belloni Battagia and at the Fontego del Megio. It was the Loredan family who wanted the construction of the building, for which they probably hired the architect Mauro Codussi. The dates of the beginning and end of the construction site reach us with great precision from historians and contemporary critics: its construction began in 1481 and was completed in 1509, as the art historian Gerolamo Priuli informs us. For the decoration of some internal walls, now lost, Giorgione's hand was requested, which frescoed them. In 1581 the Loredans were forced to sell the building to the Duke of Brunswick.
After passing to Guglielmo III Gonzaga, the palace was bought in 1589 by Vettor Calergi for his wedding with the noblewoman Isabetta Gritti: from that marriage was born only one daughter, Marina, married in 1608 to Vincenzo Grimani. In 1614 the owners enlarged the right wing of the building, covering part of the garden and giving the structure the current L shape, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. However, this wing was demolished following the assassination of Francesco Querini Stampalia, killed by the three sons of Marina, and replaced with a column of infamy, promptly removed by the three.
In 1739 the palace passed by inheritance to the Vendramin and in particular to Niccolò, great-grandson of Marina. The Vendramin became the new owners and the palace took the name of these two families related by kinship: Vendramin Calergi.
In 1844 the noble Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies bought the house, then sold to his death to other noble families. Under the subsequent property of the Dukes of Grace, between 1882 and 1883 lived his last two years at Ca 'Vendramin the German composer Richard Wagner, who died there on February 13, 1883. The last descendants of this family, having surname Lucchesi-Palli, they sold it to the Venetian financier Giuseppe Volpi, count of Misurata, who owned it for a short period of time, from 1937 to 1946. He restored the dwelling and divided it into two different areas: he used the first floor as a representative residence and for conferences and the second as the center of the Electrology center. In 1946 the building passed to the City of Venice, which installed the winter seat of the Venice Casino. Only at the beginning of the 2000s, the City of Venice sold the actual ownership of the building and its appurtenances to the Casino di Venezia SpA, its own subsidiary company.
The building is arranged in L, and presents one of the most representative facades of the Venetian Renaissance, being a local interpretation of the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence and the rhythmic bridge that Alberti had used in Mantua. The architectural game creates a successful effect through the contrast of lights and shadows. The façade is composed of three levels, divided by pronounced string courses, in turn supported by semi-columns with superimposed orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Five large mullioned windows, with an uneven rhythm (three side by side, two more isolated on the sides), enliven the façade of each floor, giving it the appearance of a two-storey loggia, which is also reflected on the ground floor, where instead of the central window is the portal. These two-light windows are derived from the fusion of two round-headed single-lancet windows, which in turn are enclosed by a semicircle. Between the two there is a circular window, which recalls the suburbs of Palazzo Corner Spinelli, from which it is distanced by design. Unlike the Gothic and late Gothic Venetian palaces, it is the architectural frame that dominates the façade, subordinating the sober polychrome inlays and decorative elements. The motto of the Knights Templar of the Ordo Templi Non nobis Domine is engraved on the subdocumental panels of the basement. Domine, non nobis, let us name your gloriam (Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name gives glory). The text is the translation of the median verses of Psalm 113 (Old Vulgate) or of the "incipit" of Psalm 115 (according to Hebrew numbering) 114 of the Bible.
In front of the seventeenth-century wing (called the white wing), to the right of the main building block, the building boasts a discrete garden overlooking the front façades, also accessible from the canal through a gate whose pillars are dominated by two large statues.
On the back of the building there is a small courtyard, closed on one side by a boundary wall, near which, besides an elegant full-arched entry topped by a tympanum and a coat of arms, a plaque is on the outside which recalls that the death of Wagner It happened within the walls of the building.
Internally, the building has, on the ground floor, an internal corridor called portego, which leads to the staircase. In place of the ancient frescos giorgionei that decorated the walls, today there are more recent stuccoes. The first noble floor is the seat of the Salone, which preserves works of the sixteenth century by Palma il Giovane and works of the seventeenth century. This environment is made in the form of T, so as to be more restricted in the back and to enjoy a broad view of the Grand Canal. Other important rooms, that of the Camino or that of the Golden Hearts, are the result of seventeenth-century modifications.
The German composer Richard Wagner stayed in Venice six times between 1858 and until his death. Arrived in Italy during his last trip, after the first of the Parsifal to the second edition of the Festival of Bayreuth, he rented the entire mezzanine of Ca 'Vendramin Calergi from the Count of Bardi before the departure from Germany, and then arrived on September 16, 1882 with his wife Cosima Liszt and four of the five children (Daniela von Bülow, Isolde, Eva and Siegfried Wagner), as well as some servants.
Wagner died of a heart attack inside the palace on 13 February 1883 at the age of 69. A commemorative plaque on the brick wall that overlooks the Grand Canal, shows the inscription in verses of the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio's memory.
The Wagner Halls, an exhibition area opened inside the building in February 1995 by the Richard Wagner Association of Venice, contain the collections Josef Lienhart and Just (composed of rare documents, sheet music, autograph letters, paintings, records and others collectible items). The objects together constitute the largest private collection dedicated to Wagner outside the museums of Bayreuth and document in particular the relationship between Wagner and Venice, the Italian city favored by the composer and to which he linked artistic and emotional events. The Wagner Rooms can be visited by appointment to be agreed with the Association.
The Richard Wagner Association of Venice has also established the European Center for Studies and Research Richard Wagner - CESRRW, through which it organizes cultural events, conferences, concerts, exhibitions (including Wagner's Days), which take place mostly in the Palazzo .