The street of the nobles, is originally one of the many navigable channels by whose aid the waters of the tortuous rivers which have formed the lagoon find their way through the mud-banks, past the mouths of the Lido, to the open sea. It is the original rivo alto, or deep stream, which created Venice, and up which the commerce of all countries was able to reach the city in the days of her splendour. A Panorama, published by Ongania in the Piazza (i franc) is an excellent guide. You will doubtless ascend the Canal many times before you come to examine it in detail in this order ; but two afternoons at least should be given to exploring its banks in the following manner.]
Begin by ascending the Canal on the Left Bank. Make your gondolier keep to the left side till you reach the railway station.
The long low building which flanks the exact end of the Canal, looking seaward, is the Dogana di Mare, erected in 1676 by Benoni ; a futile work of the later Renaissance, unpicturesque in itself, though rendered to some extent a pleasing object by its imposing position. Two Atlases on the summit bear a gilded globe, surmounted by a bronze Fortuna, which serves as a vane, its sail turning with every change of the wind. The low building in line with and beyond this, again, consists of the warehouses and sheds of the Dogana.
A little recessed stands the Seminario Patriarcale, (once a monastery,) an uninteresting building of the later Renaissance, by Longhena, 1672.
Santa Maria della Salute, already noticed.
Pass the mouth of a canal, the Rio della Salute. The beautiful brick apse, a short way down this Rio, on the R., is that of the secularised church of San Gregorio, with narrow and slender 14th-century Gothic windows, extremely charming. The buildings connected with it at the corner of the canal belong to the secularised monastery of San Gregorio, of which this church was the oratory : they have two charming Gothic windows, and a beautiful square door-way, surmounted by a pleasing relief of St. Gregory, patron of the monastery. The court within (land at the steps and see it if you have not already done so) is perhaps the most picturesque little cortile in Venice.
The large new palace which succeeds this, as you move westward, is the Palazzo Genovese, erected in 1898, in imitation of the earlier Gothic buildings, of which, however, it is a somewhat stiff and formal copy.
Pass a dry street. The first palace which you reach beyond this street is the Semitecolo, with its beautiful early Gothic windows, having false cuss in the arches, so as to make the head a trefoil. Observe on this canal the gradual growth of the arch till it reaches the Doge’s Palace type. Notice here, too, the beautiful balustrade of the balconies with the little lions, on the second floor ; these are original and belong to the period ; the balcony on the first floor shows the debased style of the 17th or 18th century. Keep an eye in future on the various types of balustrade to the balconies. Don’t needlessly burden your memory with the names of the palaces : confine your attention to the architectural features.
Pass the mouth of a canal, the Rio della Fornace. The first house but one beyond it is the Palazzo Volkoff, inhabited by Duse, the famous actress ; its windows on the first floor are of an early Gothic type. The palace just after this, (slightly out of the perpendicular,) with many windows to the L. and few to the R., and numerous plaques of coloured marble inserted as adornments in the decorative work, is the Palazzo Dario, a building in the early Renaissance style, and one of the most pleasing.
Pass the mouth of a canal, Rio delle Toreselle. Wine vaults ; then, first floor only of the vast 18th-century Palazzo Venier, never completed, with great lions’ heads on its base it now contains a garden.
Beyond this, two unimportant houses, then the Falco, a feeble late palace ; after it, the beautiful Gothic Palazzo da Mula; notice the softening of its angles ; it is in the style of the 14th century, middle Gothic, with a 17th-century balcony on the and floor.
Next comes the Barbarigo, 55th century, early Renaissance, with very simple pillars ; but the whole front is now filled with very glaring mosaics of the Venice and Murano Glass Company.
The little Campo which opens beyond this palace gives you a glimpse of the pretty small church of San Vio. Beyond it, mouth of a canal, Rio di San Vie.
The uninteresting palace at the far corner of this canal, marked by posts (pali) surmounted by the fleur-de-lys, is the Loredan, of late inhabited by Don Carlos, the Spanish Pretender ; hence the Bourbon lilies. (These poles or stakes throughout Venice bear the heraldic colours of the inhabitants of the palace. They serve as boat-houses.) Then Balbi Valier, 18th century.
After this, a very pretty garden, beyond which rises the Palazzo Manzoni, a handsome, somewhat over-decorated building in the early Renaissance style, 15th century ; note its frieze of eagles, the decorative work on its base, and the delicate balcony on the and floor. This is a very characteristic and fine specimen of early Renaissance architecture.
After an uninteresting house, pass the mouth of the Rio della Carità.
Secularised church of the Carità, now used as part of the. Academy. Steamboat station Accademia. Pass under the iron bridge. Old building of the Scuola della Carità; ornate modern façade of the Academy.
Pass the mouth of a dry canal. Three uninteresting buildings, (the last with lions and old columns on its quay then, a little in advance, Palazzo Contarini degli Scrigni, a dull 16th-century pseudo-classical building by Scamozzi, with lions’ heads and a huge human face staring out over the doorway. After it, (part of the same,) a beautiful Gothic palace, in the later 5th-century style, with the corners softened, and good string-courses ; a pretty balcony op the 1st floor, later one above. Notice the intrusive marble decoration.
Pass the mouth of a canal, Rio di San Trovaso. The view of this last palace round the corner in the canal is strikingly picturesque. Then comes an externally-painted Palazzo, with terra-cotta decorative work ; after it, the Palazzo dell’ Ambasciatore, (or Loredan,) a fine 15th-century Gothic building, (Doge’s Palace style) with Renaissance figures of two shield-bearing personages, perhaps St. George and St. Theodore. Observe the exaggerated finials (top ornaments of the arch) which mark the later (florid) Gothic, the softened corners, and the bad late balcony.
Pass the mouth of a canal, Rio Malpaga. Beyond it, relics of a palace ; then a row of small palaces, unimportant.
Pass the mouth of the Rio San Barnaba. The huge and lofty building beyond this, with more or less Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns in its three floors, is the Rezzonico, formerly inhabited by Robert Browning, the poet ; it is an over-decorated square mass, by Longhena, architect of the Salute, imposing from its mere size, but otherwise uninteresting.
The next two palaces are late and feeble. Beyond them, by the bend of the stream, comes a famous group, much painted by modern artists, the first two of the set being the palaces of the Giustiniani family, and the third, a little taller, that of the Foscari. All of these are buildings in the style of the Doge’s Palace, the Giustiniani having bad late balconies ; the Foscari lias much more beautiful railings, and its arches are in some case simpler ; its coats of arms are held by ugly (late) angels.
Pass the mouth of the Rio Foscari. At the corner, a beautiful old lamp. Then, Guggenheim’s furniture shop, of the 17th century.
Beyond the next small canal rises a dull 16th-century Renaissance palace.
Steamboat station San Toma.
Pass the Rio San Tomb.. This is followed by two or three uninteresting palaces, the next which deserves note being one with four balconies, having pretty balustrades of a contemporary type, and crowned by lions ; the recessed cusps of these arches are purely ornamental.
Beyond, the Palazzo Dona, recognisable by the painted cherubs on its second floor. Next, the Palazzo Pisani, Gothic style of the Doge’s Palace, 15th century, but its second floor has a rather original arcade, and its cornice and parapet deserve notice : the balconies have been modernised.
Jesurum’s work-rooms. Pass the mouth of the Rio San Polo. The red palace just beyond this is the Cappello, long inhabited by Sir A. H. Layard. Next to it, the Vendramin, early 16th-century Renaissance, with decorative marble insertions. After this, Quirini, 17th century ; a gate, and then the Palazzo Bernardo, 15th century, style of the Doge’s Palace, with softened angles and square balustrades to the main balcony.
Pass the little Rio della Madonetta and one dull house ; then the lovely little *Palazzo Donà, the first floor of which (above the mezzanino) is one of the most beautiful specimens left of 12th-century Byzantine-Romanesque work, with stilted arches (i.e. not springing at once from their base, but raised on straight supports) surrounded by most delicate ornamentation ; above are plaques with animal symbolism.
Next to the Dona, but separated by a little pergola, is the Palazzo Saibante, a more regular 12th-century Romanesque building, retaining only one beautiful arcade, with stilted arches and exquisite Byzantine capitals, above which are animal symbolism, and a delicate string-course of ornament.
Garden, with house recessed; then, the Palazzo Tiepolo, a dull 16th-century building, by Sansovino, crowned by two meaningless obelisks.
Pass the Rio dei Meloni. Palazzo Businello, Byzantine-Romanesque, with two charming arcades of stilted arches ; the balcony is unfortunately modern. After this, a projecting house, and then another ruined palace, with fragments of a beautiful Romanesque arcade in two stories, having a Gothic window inserted ; the capitals of these columns are worth notice.
Beyond this, a garden, and several uninteresting houses, behind which is seen the tower of San Silvestro.
Nothing more of interest till we reach the Ponte di Rialto, erected in 1592 by Antonio da Ponte, in place of an older wooden one. In itself merely a bridge of a bad period, this work is strikingly picturesque in virtue of its single high span, its parapet and balustrade, and the arcaded row of shops which occupy part of its central portion. The bridge has, on the face by which we approach it, an Annunciation, an extreme instance of the separation of Our Lady from the Announcing Angel. Gabriel is in the spandril to the L., Our Lady in that to the R. ; the keystone is formed by the dove flying towards the Madonna. The feast of the Annunciation is the festa of Venice.
Pass under the bridge. Beyond it, Palace of the Camerlenghi, or Chamberlains, (Treasury of the Republic) a heavy but handsome Renaissance work by Bergamasco, early 16th century, picturesque at certain angles, owing to the irregularity of the area on which it stands.
Then, somewhat recessed, the Old Buildings of the Rialto, (in front of which is the Herb Market,) followed by the projecting New Buildings, once Sansovino’s, but so much renewed as to be practically almost modern.
Beyond this long line of buildings we come to the Fish Market, often unpleasant to the sense of smell, but picturesque by virtue of- its quaint fishing craft, and odd live-fish baskets.
Pass the mouth of the Rio della Pescaria. In the back-ground the tower of Sant’ Aponal. The next building of interest is the Palazzo Morosini, with softened corners, a fine 14th-century Gothic building, in the Doge’s Palace style. The house next but one to it, though uninteresting in itself, has beautiful old balconies and other relics of past splendour.
Pass the mouth of a canal, the Rio di San Cassan. Then, comes a little *Palazzo of early Gothic architecture, without cusps to its arches, showing a transitional form between Venetian Romanesque and Venetian Gothic. After it, the huge Palazzo Corner della Regina, (now the Monte di Pieta,) a late building of 1724. It occupies the site of a palace belonging to Queen Catharine of Cyprus.
Pass the mouth of a canal, the Rio Ca’ Pesaro. Just beyond it, with a fine corner view, the gigantic Palazzo Pesaro, built by Longhena, architect of the Salute, in 1679 ; though overloaded with ornament, as is all Longhena’s work, this huge mansion has a certain imposing stateliness by virtue of its mere size and of the enormous bosses of faceted stone which form its lower floor. Good views round its corners.
Pass another small canal, and then, just beyond it, comes the tawdry baroque façade of the church of St. Eustacchio, commonly known in Venetian as San Staë, erected in 1709. Next to it is the small *Palazzo Friuli, with a lovely first-floor arcade, early Gothic, having a somewhat oriental curve in the arch, derived by early Venetian Gothic from Alexandria or Cairo. The capitals of the columns art characteristic of the period. It has also a dainty little balcony, with graceful slender columns.
Beyond this, a garden ; then, a small palace wlth an arcade on the first floor, slightly resembling the last, but with cusps to the arches. These various stages in the evolution of Venetian Gothic should be carefully noted and allowed to fall into their proper order.
Pass the mouth of a canal, Rio di Ca’ Tron : then, another of Longhena’s 17th-century fronts, encumbered with coats of arms, twisted into an ugly wriggling pattern. The long building next to this, with curious battlements, is the ancient Granary of the Republic, still bearing a few coats of arms.
Pass the mouth of a canal, Rio dei Megio. Next to this is the water-front of the very early Byzantine and Romanesque palace now known as the *Fondaco de’ Turchi, a name which, however, it did not acquire until the 17th century, when it was let out to the Turkish merchants in Venice. This magnificent 12th-century palace, though recently so much restored as to have lost all air of antiquity and the greater part of its early interest, is still in a certain symbolical way representative of the splendid homes of the Byzantine period to which belongs the basilica of St. Mark’s, and of which this is, among palaces, the only surviving example all in the one style. Its modernised arches, capitals, shafts, bases, parapets, and decorative plaques, are all typical, if not original, and it presents us with a good picture of what the Grand Canal must have looked like in many of its parts before the Gothic and Renaissance invasion. Study its front carefully.
You may land here, in passing, to visit the interesting objects exposed under the front arcade, the building being now appropriated as the Correr Museum (Museo Civico). Begin to the R. Quaint relief of St. Martin dividing his cloak with the beggar, dated 1478. Beyond the door, good decorative reliefs and inscriptions. Over the ruined tomb, an Archangel, with his hand raised in an attitude of blessing. Beyond the next door, ancient sarcophagi.; over them, relief of Our Lady and Child, flanked by St. Mary Magdalen as penitent, (dressed only in her flowing hair,) and St. Sebastian. Beyond these, St. John the Baptist and St. Mark the evangelist , below, two beautiful adoring angels ; in the lunette above the Eternal Father and angels. The Madonna della Misericordia, bearing the infant Christ as a brooch on her bosom, and sheltering under her robe the Fraternity of Crociferi, very similar to the treatment in certain pictures in the Academy. Beyond this, Our Lady without the Child, worshipped by a Doge and Senators. After the large central door, another Madonna della Misericordia, sheltering votaries under her robe. Near this, several interesting inscriptions and sarcophagi. The interior of the Museum is best visited, if at all, on another occasion ; I do not however advise you to inspect it unless your time at Venice is tolerably unlimited.
Continuing your inspection of the L. bank of the canal. Steamboat station, Museo Civico. After this, for some distance there are few objects of interest till you reach the little Palazzo Giovanelli, with a good balcony and Gothic arches of the middle period. Pass the mouth of a dry canal ; then a garden. The only objects of interest further on along this bank are the church of San Simeone Grande (a little back) and the ugly domed church of San Simeone Piccolo, built in 1718.
Turn at the Railway Station and begin the examination of the Right Bank.
The ugly baroque front of the church of the Scalzi adjoins the station ; it is an overloaded building of the 17th century. The great monastery of Barefooted Carmelites to which it once belonged has left no remains visible. Steamboat station Ferrovia. After this, several uninteresting buildings.
The tall narrow Palazzo which is the first to arrest our attention as we glide homeward is the Flangini, an over-decorated building of the 17th century, less debased, how-ever, than most work of its period. Then comes the marble transept of San Geremia, with the dome behind it,a church built in 1753 ; it has a good campanile a little in the background.
Steamboat station San Geremia.
The palace beyond, with the conspicuous eagles, is the Palazzo Labia, by Longhena.
Pass the mouth of the Cannaregio, a broad canal, down which the steamboats go to Mestre ; in the background, beyond the bridge, to the R., are the tall houses of the Old Ghetto.
After some uninteresting buildings comes a Renaissance palace, probably altered from Gothic, as it has its corners softened. Then a little garden.
Ugly brick front, unfinished, of the church of San Marcuola (properly St. Hermagoras and Fortunatus : note all these dedications : they cast light on the saints in the arcades of St. Mark’s). Beyond it, a Gothic palace of the early type, with slight cusps to the arches.
Pass the mouth of the Rio dei Servi : then, a garden. Beyond it, with blue posts, the gigantic Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, commonly known as the Palazzo Non nobis, from the inscription on its ground floor (Non nobis, Domine, non nobisnot unto us, O Lord, etc.). This is a cold but stately Renaissance palace in the style of the Lombardi, (1481,) with good eagles on its frieze, and relieved by inserted decorative marbles : the balustrades apparently come from an earlier building. (Wagner the composer lived and died here.) Beyond it, one of its wings with a garden in front of it. Observe the chimneys, which here and elsewhere in Venice are very curious.
The next Gothic palace (Erizzo) is of the Doge’s Palace type, with a late balcony spoiling its windows. Just beyond it, a tasteful Renaissance building.
Here the canal makes an angle at the entrance to the Rio della Maddalena. Immediately after the bend, on the front of a Renaissance building with the remains of frescoes, is a Madonna della Misericordia sheltering votaries. This is succeeded by several uninteresting late houses.
Pass the mouth of the Rio di Noale. There is nothing in particular to notice here till you reach the Rio di San Felice, just beyond which rises the Palazzo Fontana, built by Sansovino, and easily recognised by the two meaning-less obelisks on its roof. Almost next to this, after the Children’s School, is the Coletti of the 18th century, recognised by its busts on the upper floor and the statues on the ground floor. Adjacent to it is one of the most picturesque and certainly one of the most popularly pleasing of the palaces, the *Cà d’Oro, a very ornate building of the Doge’s Palace type, (15th century,) with some graceful traceries ; its string-courses, cornice, and parapet are all worthy of notice ; its angles are softened by three twisted columns where one is more usual. The façade is the work of the Buon family, who built the Piazzetta front of the Doge’s Palace. Though somewhat meretricious in its splendour for a Gothic building, it is undeniably very pretty and has original features : the balconies have slender and graceful balustrades. It was once gilded : hence its name.
Steamboat station Ch d’Oro.
The next palace but one, after the little garden, is the Sagredo, 14th century, in an early and somewhat simpler style ; its lower arcade being almost transitional between Byzantine-Romanesque and Gothic, while its upper arcade partakes of the Doge’s Palace type.
Pass a broad open space. Just beyond it is the pretty little Palazzo Foscari, with middle Gothic arcades, and a Madonna and Child on its second story. Notice in this and many other cases the shafts of the columns.
Next door but one is the Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, a large but uninteresting 17th-century palace, with an open arcade on its ground floor, and half-length figures in the middle pediments.
The Gothic palace a little beyond this, with dark blue posts, has simple cusped arches, with bad capitals to the columns, and late balconies ; it has been largely modernised in the 17th century.
Pass the mouth of the Rio dei SS. Apostoli, down which is visible the tower of the church of the same name. Just beyond it stands the extremely interesting *Palazzo da Mosto, a Byzantine palace, more or less ruinous, with large round arches on its ground floor, and a good round-arched arcade on its first floor. The summits of these last arches, however, simulate and prefigure the Gothic type by being apparently pointed, though when you look close you see that the real arch is itself circular. Above are fine decorative plaques, richly wrought with animal symbolism, and a figure of Christ blessing. What remains of this once beautiful half-transitional palace is thus Byzantine in under-lying reality, but apparently Gothic in external form. One sees oriental influence.
Next to it comes a simple, tolerably early Gothic Palace.
Pass the mouth of the Rio di San Crisostomo, near which in the background you catch a glimpse in passing of a few exquisite windows belonging to a transitional early-Gothic palace; these windows show well the first form of the Venetian Gothic, just altered from the Byzantine.
The only other building of interest before we reach the Rialto Bridge is the large dull block close to it, with five open arches on its ground floor, and a curious parapet on top ; this is the Fondaco de’ Tedeschi, or Guild of the German Merchants in Venice heavy 16th century. An earlier Teutonic guild-hall existed here from the 13th century : a relic of the commercial importance of Venice, which imported oriental goods and passed them on to Germany. The quarter about the bridge, specially known as Rialto, was the business district, like “the City” in London. Here all the guilds of foreign merchants congregated. Get Shakspere out of your head : he was never in Venice.
Pass under the Ponte di Rialto. The figures on this front of the bridge as we approach it are, L., St. George (or Theodore ?) and R., St. Mark, the two chief patrons of the city.
After passing the bridge we have on our L. the Riva del Carbon. Steamboat station Rialto, for passengers going E. The first important building beyond it is the Palazzo Manin, the seat of the last unhappy Doge, (now the Banco d’Italia,) a frigid and jejune building in the Renaissance style of the 16th century, by Sansovino, which absurdly recalls the City of London.
Steamboat station Carbon, for passengers going W.
The large and handsome Gothic palace behind it is the G.V.
Palazzo Bembo, a good specimen of the 14th-century pointed style, with the arches scarcely cusped, if at all, though the finials are already rather heavy ; it has good columns and softened angles, but is ruined by an ugly late balustrade added to its balconies.
Beyond the red houses which follow comes a dainty little *Gothic palace, said to be all that remains of the home of the great doge Enrico Dandolo, the conqueror of Constantinople. It is, however, of rather ornate architecture, later than his age, with earlier animal symbolism still untouched in its upper floor; the arcades are curious, and differ from those of any other palace.
After a few dull houses, we arrive at the magnificent **Palazzo Loredan, perhaps the most beautiful of all the houses on the Grand Canal. It is a splendid example of a Byzantine-Romanesque Venetian palace, with a distinct tinge of oriental feeling; the capitals of some of its columns are exquisitely beautiful, especially the double pair to the R. and L. of the main balcony, (which is later, and ruins the effect.) The arcades and ornaments of this glorious house should be closely studied. Above stand figures of two men-at-arms at the extreme end, whose inscriptions are illegible to me, though I believe them to be St. Vitus and St. George. The central figures, under later (added) Gothic canopies (with angels in the finials) are, L., Justice with her sword and scales, and, R., Venice seated between her lions, and holding the column of St. Mark surmounted by the winged lion. I advise you to study this exquisite façade well, and to recur to it every time you pass it. It is almost pure Moorish-Byzantine, with very little Gothic alteration.
Next to it is the *Palazzo Fanelli, also Romanesque and of the 12th century, but in a simpler style and much less decorated. This building, indeed, is rather pure Romanesque than Byzantine, and shows absolutely no oriental influence. Its lower arcade is graceful and dignified ; the capitals of the columns in the upper arcade deserve attention. The two buildings together are now used as the Municipality of the City of Venice, and their posts therefore bear the lion of St. Mark, in gold, on a dark blue ground.
Beyond this comes a pretty little Renaissance palace, converted from Gothic, and with two Gothic windows still visible round the corner; it flanks the Fondamenta in picturesque fashion. After a small early Renaissance palace with decorative plaques, comes the huge Palazzo Grimani, built by Sammicheli in the 16th century, and now used as the Court of Appeal ; though destitute of real beauty, it is imposing from its mere size and its fine approach, and is comparatively free from overloaded ornament.
Beyond it, pass the mouth of the Rio di San Luca, at the corner of which stands the Palazzo Cavalli, one of the most ornate palaces of the Doge’s Palace type ; it bears on a mantle the crest of its owner, a horse, an armoirie parlante or rebus revealing the name of its owners. The next Gothic palace is the Tron, with curious capitals to its first-floor windows, bearing heads in the centre.
For some time after this we see nothing but uninteresting late palaces,mere town houses of the bad age, until we pass the mouth of the Rio di Ca Michiel and that of the Rio dell’ Albero, just beyond the last of which rises the large Palazzo Corner = Spinelli, in the style of the Lombardi, with a handsome staircase, and the usual Renaissance decoration of coloured inserted marbles.
Steamboat station Sant’ Angelo.
Pass the mouth of the Rio Sant’ Angelo. Just beyond it, Palazzo Garzoni, 14th-century Gothic, with simple windows, showing very slight cusps ; the balcony is modern. This is succeeded by a suite of palaces of the Mocenigo family, of uninteresting late Renaissance architecture, whose only claim to notice is that Byron once inhabited one of them ; the lion’s head is conspicuous on them all. Beyond these, very dull Renaissance palaces, the best of which is the Contarini dalle Figure, by the Lombardi, so called from the busts with which it is adorned. Then, at the bend of the canal, the pretty little Gothic Palazzo Lezze, spoiled by its ugly balconies. The one next to it has simple Gothic windows.
The next bend brings us abreast with the immense mass of the 18th-century Palazzo Moro-Lin, noticeable for its large open arcade on the ground floor, but looking otherwise very much like an eligible and commodious modern warehouse.
Beyond it, with an extremely white façade, and shields blazoned above the lateral doorways, towers the huge Palazzo Grassi, also of the 18th century, and greatly resembling a prosperous club in Pall Mall. Just after passing this we open out the little Campo San Samuele, with the picturesque church and campanile of the same name. The Campo is flanked by buildings with Gothic windows. The corner Palazzo beyond it is of the 17th century ; next to it a garden, prettily balustraded. After this, the base of the houses is formed by the colossal substructures of a vast palace begun for the Duke of Milan in the 15th century, (Cà del Duca,) but ordered to be discontinued by command of the signory ; the only part of the palace now largely visible is the corner near the mouth of the little Rio del Duca.
Pass this Rio. Beyond it we reach the Palazzo Falier, with a pretty arcade of the 15th century. Then comes the Giustiniani-Lolin, another of Longhena’s monotonous buildings, much less decorated, however, than was his wont.
Skirt the Campo San Vitale, with the church and campanile of San Vidal in the background. Pass under the Iron Bridge. The large and well-kept palace which rises beyond it is the Palazzo Cavalli, now occupied by Baron Franchetti, a wealthy Murano glass-blower; it is in the Doge’s Palace style, with softened angles, good balustrades, and an arcade on the first floor suggesting the transition from the windows of the Frari (see later) to the Doge’s Palace type.
Pass the mouth of the Rio dell’ Orso. Just after it, Palazzo Barbaro, with some good early-Gothic windows on its second floor ; most of the balconies are modernised ; rich coloured-marble insertions. Beyond this come several uninteresting late buildings.
Pass the mouth of the Rio del Santissimo. More uninteresting late buildings. Beyond them, a garden, after which we reach the huge Palazzo Corner della Ca Grande, a stately but dull building by Sansovino, in the later Renaissance style.
Pass the Rio di San Maurizio ; at its corner, a little Gothic palace.
Steamboat station Santa Maria del Giglio ; behind it a Gothic palace, almost entirely altered into Renaissance in its lower portion.
Pass the end of a canal now built over, and commanding the front of Santa Maria Zobenigo. Beyond it, Palazzo Gritti, 14th-century Gothic, with simple arches below, and those above somewhat Saracenic in form ; it is now part of the Grand Hotel.
Pass the mouth of the Rio delle Ostreghe. Beyond it, Palazzo Fini, Renaissance, also forming part of the Grand Hotel. Then Manolesso Ferro, 14th-century Gothic, largely altered into Renaissance, with bad balconies ; like-wise swallowed up by the devouring maw of the Grand Hotel.
Just after this, at a somewhat lower Ievel, we perceive the very singular front of the little *Palazzo Contarini=Fasan, religiously described by the gondoliers as ” Desdemona’s Palace,” whatever that may mean. It has extremely ornate arches, with large finials, and a somewhat Saracenic curve ; its balconies are unique, the parapet being composed of a singular wheel ornament, not without a certain meretricious beauty ; its cornice is noteworthy. This dainty little house is perhaps the most popular favourite, after the Cà d’Oro, on the whole line of the Grand Canal ; but it is over-decorated, though in many ways admirable. The lower Palazzo next to it has good balconies and typical middle-Gothic windows.
Beyond this, we pass several uninteresting houses; then the Palazzo Tiepolo, now the Hotel Britannia. The rest of this part of the Canal is mainly occupied by hotels, few of which have any artistic pretensions. The Hotel de l’Europe, however, occupies the Palazzo Giustiniani, a tolerable Gothic building of the 15th century.
Beyond the Europa come the gardens of the Royal Palace, with the Procuratie Nuove in the background ; then the Zecca, already described, the lagoon front of the Libreria Vecchia, the Piazzetta, with the granite columns, and the Doge’s Palace. At its far end we pass the Rio di Palazzo; the building which succeeds it, and which is connected with the Palace by the Bridge of Sighs, being the Criminal Prison, built by Antonio da Ponte in 1589. A little further on comes the Hotel Daniele, formerly the Palazzo Dandolo, a good Gothic building in the Doge’s Palace style. The Riva degli Schiavoni, which stretches from this point east-ward nearly to the Public Gardens, has comparatively few points of interest ; those which it has will be briefly described or alluded to elsewhere.
One of the most notable facts about the palaces of the Grand Canal is the witness which they bear to the early civilization and peace of Venice: In northern Europe, the houses of mediaeval nobles are dark and gloomy castles : even at Florence, the palaces of great families like the Strozzi and the Medici (now Riccardi) are, as late as the 15th century, built mainly for defence, with single heavy external doors or gates, no openings on the ground floor, and small grated windows alone on the entresol. But in commercial and oligarchical Venice, protected as she was by her moat of lagoon, and firmly ruled by her strong internal government, even the old Romanesque palaces, like the Fondaco dei Turchi, the Loredan, and the Farsetti, are already open gentlemen’s houses, “built for pleasure and for state,” with free means of access, broad arcades, abundant light, and a general air of peace and security. The development of the later Venetian style, as seen in the Libreria Vecchia and the Procuratie, from this early open and airy type, is well worth noticing. In fact, the native Venetian ideal, traversing all styles, persists throughout, in spite of endless changes of architectural fashion.