Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza

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Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza is a palace in Venice, located in the San Polo district and overlooking the Rio di San Polo and the Grand Canal between Palazzo Pisani Moretta and Ca' Cappello.

Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza History

Palazzo Barbarigo was built around the years 1568 - 1569, on a project by Bernardino Contin by the will of Daniele Barbarigo, exponent of the noble Barbarigo family, who already owned the two buildings that occupied the place where this palace would have been erected. Over the years, the palace became the seat of an important private art gallery, which went missing during the 19th century. It was accumulated by the son of Daniele, named Cristoforo Barbarigo.

In 1739 the wedding was celebrated between Filippo Barbarigo, belonging to the family that owns the building, and Chiara Pisani Moretta, belonging to the family then owning the adjacent building. On this occasion, the two buildings were joined with passats, that is, air passages that allowed the passage from one building to another passing over the narrow street that separates them, called Ramo Pisani Barbarigo. The passages still exist, but have been walled up, as the buildings currently belong to different owners.

The building underwent a split and was subject to numerous changes of ownership. Today it houses the German Center for Venetian Studies, founded in 1972, and a boutique hotel on the lower floors, while the second floor is owned by the Loredan family.

The building has an unprecedented L-shaped plan, due to the presence on the first floor level of a large terrace overlooking the Grand Canal and the San Polo stream: this element is the peculiarity that distinguishes the building also in the name. It extends for 24 meters along the Rio di San Polo and for 14 along the Grand Canal. Until a few decades ago it was used as a roof garden. The building is well developed in height: it is composed of five levels such as ground floor, mezzanine, two noble floors and attic for servants.

A façade little developed in width overlooks the Grand Canal, where it borders Palazzo Pisani Moretta: it, unadorned, has two round lancet windows with balustrades for each of the two noble floors.
The main façade, which overlooks the river, is symmetrical and Renaissance in style, with two orders of four-cornered balconies on the noble floors and, on the ground floor, a large round-headed portal with a key in the same key as the one overlooking the canal, below The terrace. Palazzo Barbarigo owes its celebrity to the large terrace oriented towards the famous Grand Canal which has hosted numerous celebrations over the centuries.

Despite the nineteenth-century dissipation of the Barbarigo art gallery, which led to the dispersion of most of the artistic heritage, inside the palace there are stuccoes and decorations from different eras, including works by Vincenzo Guarana, son of the most famous Jacopo. These works depict the splendor of the owner family, that of the Barbarigo family. The most precious paintings are the coronation of the doge Marco Barbarigo and the doge Agostino Barbarigo receives the crown of Cyprus from Caterina Cornaro, but it may have been mainly made by him also two monochrome oval door panels with allegorical personifications. In particular, the first floor preserves original decorations and a collection of paintings with portraits of doges enclosed with wooden frames. The Barbarigo family had some famous members, including Marco Barbarigo who was doge in 1485-86 and his brother Agostino (doge from 1486 until 1501, who cleverly obtained the dominion of the Island of Cyprus for Venice from Caterina Cornaro), but also San Gregorio Barbarigo (Venice 1625-Padua 1697) and numerous ambassadors and supervisors.

The famous art gallery was accumulated largely thanks to the work of Cristoforo Barbarigo. In 1845 it was made up of 102 canvases made by artists such as Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini, Palma il Vecchio, Rubens, Guido Reni and Tiziano, but was sold in 1850 by Nicolò Giustinian, the then owner of the building, to Tsar Nicola I for the figure of 562 000 Austrian lire. The presence of 17 works by Titian made some critics of the past hypothesize that the famous painter had had a study in the building. Some works are now visible at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza

Time period
  • 1500s
  • Italy, Venice
Historical figures
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Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza
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