Palazzo Grimani in Venice

Palazzo Grimani in Venice
09 January 2017 0 Comment

Venice is supremely rich in art and stupendous history like the once powerful Grimani family.  And Venice is almost regal in her sublime indifference to those that come to pay homage to such a city as this. And come we do, every day of every year, addicted to the special magic of the city built on the sea. Recently, a new addition was added to the long list of must see locations and museums that fill our time here and it really is a Venetian Delight? Palazzo Grimani has opened its doors again to all of us, and not as long ago, to the rich and powerful of the 16th and 17th centuries. Today we can all wander in and marvel at the architecture of what was once a private residence, decorated with fresco’s as ordered by Domenico Grimani, whose magnificent taste in art and the collecting of it, was carried on just as successfully by his nephew, Giovanni Grimani.

The Beginning of the Grimani Wealth

The considerable family wealth was created by the cunning and wildly successful Venetian merchant and financier, Antonio Grimani, who spent his last years, from 1521 to 1523, as Doge of Venice no less! The vast wealth of the family armed the cultured and superb collectors eye of the son, Domenico, who began a lifetime of putting together one of the most important private collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, anywhere at the time. That tradition was carried on by Giovanni Grimani, who became the sole owner of the palace by 1558. It was Giovanni who was the founder of what became the most famous residence-museum in all of Europe and visitors to this home included King Henry III of France, who popped by in 1573, to admire not only the fantastic collection of statues, paintings and precious objects, but to marvel at the marble work, stucco’s, and the gilded and frescoed interiors of the palace itself.

What Happened to the Grimani Art Collections?

Sadly the once great collection was being sold off to public and private collections as early as the 19th century and when the last of the Grimani died without an heir in 1865, the beautiful family home began a slide into miserable and neglected disrepair. The building was rescued in the early 1980’s by the State of Italy and work began on bringing it back to glorious life. In doing so the project of restoration has revealed a building that whilst thin with actual objects of art on display, is magnificent in the originality and richness of its décor and decorations. The palazzo has become the greatest work of art itself!


In a city that has such a mind boggling collection of things to see, you can now add the wonderful Palazzo Grimani to your list and enjoy that rarest of marriages? Wealth, culture and exquisite taste; but of course, that’s Venice.

Palazzo Grimani di Santa Maria Formosa – Ramo Grimani, 4858 – tel: 041 241 1507 – Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 08.15 – 19.15 and on Monday from 08.15 – 14.00

Peter Kilby
About the Author

Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who has lived and worked in Italy since 1987. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of art and history closer to you. Download the “free” Perfect Traveller app and enjoy the best audio tours available; about Italy today and yesterday. Sign Up to this website and submit your travel stories and become part of the Perfect Traveller community.

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