The Ca' d'Oro ★★

The ground floor courtyard of the Ca' d'Oro in Venice
Part of the ground floor courtyard of the Ca' d'Oro. (Photo by Koji Yatani)

Venice's Ca' d'Oro (Golden House) is a gorgeous 15th century palatial home housing the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti museum

Venice's Ca' d'Oro, or Golden House, was built in 1420–34 and now houses a museum of Old Masters and fine art
Venice's Ca' d'Oro, or Golden House, was built in 1420–34 and now houses a museum of Old Masters and fine art. (Photo by David Nicholls)
The 15th-century Ca' d'Oro is one of the best preserved and most impressive of the hundreds of patrician palazzi lining the Grand Canal. After the Palazzo Ducale, it's the city's finest example of Venetian Gothic architecture.

A restoration of its delicate pink-and-white facade (its name, the Golden Palace, refers to a former, gilt-covered facade that faded long ago) was completed in 1995.

Inside, the ornate beamed ceilings, mosaicked floors, and palatial trappings provide an attention-grabbing backdrop for the private collection of former owner Baron Giorgio Franchetti, who bequeathed his palazzo and his collection of paintings, sculpture, and other artwork to the city during World War I. This now comprises the palazzo's Galleria Giorgio Franchetti.

The Galleria Franchetti

Tiziano's Venus at her Mirror (1550) in the Galleria Franchetti of the Ca d'Oro, Venezia
Venus with a Mirror by Titian—the Galleri Franchetti version above (c. 1550), and the National Gallery version below (1555).

Venus with a Mirror, Tiziano, National Gallery of Art
The core collection, expanded over the years, now includes sculptures, furniture, 16th-century Flemish tapestries, an impressive collection of bronzes (12th–16th century), and a painting gallery.

The most important canvases are Andrea Mantegna's San Sebastiano and Titian's Venus with a Mirror.

I realize there is no actual mirror in the painting, but that is because the right side of the canvas was (tragically) cut off at some point in the past.

We know there once was a miror, because this work was either a study for—or a copy of—the famous, more sumptuous version that now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (pictured below to the left, to give you a sense of what the rest of the canvas once looked like).

This Venus proved so popular that Titian's workshop cranked out several copies. However, scholars are willing to bet (based on the drapery and other details) that the master himself made this particular copy/study.

There are also several nice works by Carpaccio and some lesser paintings by Tintoretto, Van Dyck, Giorgione, Jan Steen, and Alvise Vivarini.

The loggia and ceramics

Step out onto the palazzo's loggia, overlooking the Grand Canal, for a view up and down the aquatic waterway and across to the Rialto pescheria (fish market), a timeless vignette of an unchanged city.

Off the loggia is a small but worthy ceramics collection open from 10am to noon.

Tips & links

Details & tours

Ca' D'Oro - Galleria Giorgio Franchetti ★★
3932 Calle Ca d'Oro/Strada Nuova, Cannaregio (north of Rialto Bridge)
Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro or Rialto
tel. +39-041-520-0345 or +39-041-522-2349
www.cadoro.org
www.polomuseale.venezia.beniculturali.it
Book tickets: Select Italy
Open Mon 8:15am–2pm
Open Tues–Sat 8:15am–7:15pm
Open Sun 10am–6pm (subject to change)
Adm

Ca' d'Oro tours
• Context: Daily Life in Renaissance Venice

Tours
Take a tour: Book a guided tours of Venice that includes a visit to the Ca' d'Oro:

How long does the Ca' d'Oro take?

Planning your day: Most people will breeze in and our of here in 45 minutes, though the more leisurely visitor (or one with a particular interest in the collections) might spend an hour or two.

The last entry is 30 minutes before the museum closes.Venice itineraries

Don't book ahead

While advance reservations are possible for this museum, they really aren't necessary, so save yourself the booking fee.

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Details
Ca' D'Oro - Galleria Giorgio Franchetti ★★
3932 Calle Ca d'Oro/Strada Nuova, Cannaregio (north of Rialto Bridge)
Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro or Rialto
tel. +39-041-520-0345 or +39-041-522-2349
www.cadoro.org
www.polomuseale.venezia.beniculturali.it
Book tickets: Select Italy
Open Mon 8:15am–2pm
Open Tues–Sat 8:15am–7:15pm
Open Sun 10am–6pm (subject to change)
Adm

Ca' d'Oro tours
• Context: Daily Life in Renaissance Venice
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