Venice palaces

I am planning on returning to Venice next year and would like to visit a palace this time around. There are so many listed on my Venice map, but I haven't been able to narrow the search down to one or two that are worth visiting. Can anyone give me a recommendation of palaces worth seeing? Which ones were your favorites and why? Your help is most appreciated.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
6700 posts

If you go to this Wikipedia article (unfortunately only in Italian), you will see links to all important Venetian Palaces divided by Sestiere (a Sestiere is 1/6, since the city of Venice is divided into 6 districts). Click on each district and you'll see photos and descriptions of all palaces. Below is just a sample of what you should visit, if you have the time (in parentheses the sestiere where they are located: Palazzo dei Dogi (San Marco) Teatro la Fenice (San Marco) Ca' D'Oro museum (Cannaregio) Ca' Pesaro museum of modern art (San Polo) Ca' Rezzonico museum of XVIII century (Dorsoduro) Ca' is Venetian short for Casa (House). In the S. Marco sestiere you may want to see (outside only I think): Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo Palazzo Grassi Palazzo Fortuny Also click on 'the Museums' in the site below for details on some of the above. For a full list of what to see in Venice, see also below: If I had to limit my choice to two only, definitely I would visit the Doge's Palace and the La Fenice Theater. But if you have enough days you can probably see a lot of the rest too, at least from the outside. Go to the link above (nycevenice) and pick up something. Venice has a lot of choices, as you know.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13875 posts

Ca' D'Oro is at the vaporetto stop of the same name between the Ferrovia and Rialto, on the S Marco side of the Grand Canal. We like it very much because it has great views of the Grand Canal, particularly from its water gate. A museum, you can go around most of the property. This year we discovered the Palazzo Grimani which is a newly opened Palazzo containing special exhibits. Just off Campo Santa Maria Formosa it is very convenient and unusual for a large palazzo owned originally by a Doge, because it is not on a major waterway. It does have small canals on two sides with two watergates (underwater when we were there) and we were able to hear the strains of Santa Lucia as the gondolieri took several boats of tourists past. BTW - I never understand why Roman songs are so popular in Venice.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6726 posts

DLB, since you've been there before, this isn't for your benefit, but for the benefit of those who haven't yet been to Venice. The term "palazzo" would probably more accurately be translated into American English as "mansion" rather than what most Americans would think of as a "palace", which might conjure up images of Buckingham Palace. In Venice, the palazzi (plural) are where the wealthier families lived, and they are basically heavily ornamented multi-floor boxes. Don't expect any turrets. :-)

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

To choose among the major museums located in palaces... Ca' D'Oro museum Ca' Pesaro museum
Ca' Rezzonico museum I'd suggest looking at the desriptions of the collections and deciding which collection most appeals to you. I think any of them gives you a feeling for the lifestyle. As Roberto mentioned, the Doge's palace is a very different experience from the others in terms of the level of splendor/excess (although I preferred the museums listed above).

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
711 posts

I wholeheartedly recommend the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. It's a bit hidden so most tourists miss it and that's a shame, it's quite an impressive sight.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6726 posts

We're planning on finding the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo because of the famous exterior spiral staircase. Google it to see what I mean.