Located in Campo St Samuele in Venice, the Grassi Palace is one of the most famous Venetian residences. Its construction started in 1745 and probably finished in 1772.
There are no documents which can prove who the first owner was; but historical literature assigns its project to Giorgio Massari, a famous architect who was working on the enlargement of Cà Rezzonico situated on the opposite bank of the Grand Canal from Palazzo Grassi.
He had also previously built the Gesuiti Church on the Zattere and the Pietà Church on the Riva degli Schiavoni.
It is one of the last palaces built in Venice before the collapse of the Republic in 1797.
Its style is neoclassical, and develops around a big pillared courtyard set in a linear design.
The first and longest, leads from the entrance on the canal to the staircase decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo Morlaiter and Francesco Zanchi, the second is perpendicular, with entrances on Campo St Samuele and the adjacent calle Remo Grassi.
Sold by the Grassis in 1840, it was home to many owners – a lyrical artist, a painter, industrialists such as Giovanny Stucky and Vittorio Cini.
Each owner restored it and decorated it according to their needs and the tastes of the respective eras.
After 1949 it hosted the International centre of Arts and Costumes. In the same years the courtyard was covered with a glass structure and turned into an atrium.
In 1978, following the changes made by an industrial group, the palace was made into an exhibition space.
Fiat took it over in 1983. Giovanni Agnelli entrusted Gae Aulenti with the palace’s updating – he had, at the same time, been entrusted with the renovation of Musèe d’Orsay in Paris – with the collaboration of a Venetian architect Antonio Foscari.
The use of modern equipment left a decisive mark upon its restoration. Works went on for 14 months. The Grassi Palace exhibited till 2005, and had great success.
After a long period of closure, the palace was purchased by French art critic and collector François Pinault. It reopened its doors to the public, after restructuring by architect Tadao Ando, with the exhibition «“Where Are We Going?” works chosen from the collection of François Pinault».
Tadao Ando’s interventions
It was natural to François Pinault to entrust Tadao Ando, to whom he had already entrusted his project for Ile Seguin museum, with the new arrangement of Grassi Palace.
Tadao Ando created the necessary neutrality to enjoy exhibitions and to respect the palace’s architecture and its ancient foundations. He used an austere, precise and independent style wanting to stay to true to present and past.
The lighting is free of the original structures of the palace.
Security devices are set in metallic hollows, in evident contrast with the ceilings.
The interventions and the range of colours, both very discreet, exalt the palace’s architecture and its decorations producing, at the same time a serene atmosphere, necessary for the contemplation to the displayed works.
In harmony with the Palace, Tadao Ando was able to find the best of Venetian materials (marbles and plaster) and craftsmen.
Address: San Marco Campo San Samuele 3231- 30124 Venezia
Telephone Number: 041 5231680
Fax: 041 528 62 18
Times: from 10.00a.m. to 7.00p.m. (ticket place closes at 6.00p.m.). closed on Tuesday and on 24, 25, 31 December
Entrance: full price: 15 euro with audioguide/ 10 euro regular ticket; reduced 1 (adult groups from 15 to 25 people living in Venice): 12 euro with audioguide / 8 euro regular ticket; reduced 2 (school groups, young people from 7 to 18 years old, students younger than 26 years old): 10 euro with audioguide / 6 euro regular ticket
Actv transport lines: 1/2 boat stop San Samuele o Sant'Angelo
The palace’s Bookshop is entrusted to Electa
The palace’s Café is owned by Irina Freguia of the Vecio Fritolin (www.veciofritolin.it)
The bar is open from 10a.m. to 7.00p.m.
Lunch is served from 12.a.m. to 3p.m.
Bookings and advance sale of tickets
from Italy: 899.666.805 from Mondays to Fridays from 8a.m. to 8p.m. and Saturdays from 8a.m. to 1p.m.
from a foreign country: +39 0445230313