Palazzo Grimani: a charming museum off the beaten track in Venice

Have you seen just about every corner of Venice and you’re ready to explore what’s off the beaten path? Discover more about Palazzo Grimani, located at the core of the Castello district in Venice, a magnificent Renaissance building that houses many treasure.

October 16, 2019

Have you seen just about every corner of Venice and you’re ready to explore what’s off the beaten path? If so, then you’re in for a rare treat. The Palazzo Grimani, located at the core of the Castello district in Venice is a magnificent Renaissance building that houses many treasures that are certainly worth paying a visit.

Photo Credits: Jean-François Baron

If you’re done limiting yourself to the most famous landmarks in Venice, read on to discover everything you need to know about the Palazzo Grimani – then, and now, so you can plan your visit to this spectacular palace accordingly.


The History of the Palazzo Grimani in Venice

The palace was acquired by Doge Antonio as a home for his children in the early 1500s. It was later renovated by his grandson, Giovanni, who was the Patriarch of Aquileia. He enlarged the palace and decorated it to house his incredible collection of Roman and Greek marbles.

Giovanni Grimaldi soon became one of the most illustrative examples of the Renaissance culture in the city. His palace had many beautiful rooms, including the foliated room, which was decorated by Camillo Mantovano, in 1660. This room has a stunning frescoed ceiling featuring a thick forest with beautiful birds and plants all around.


There are many other rooms in this little-known jewel of Venice that are sure to amaze and delight you.

The impressive interiors of this palace are unmatched anywhere else in the city. They provide extraordinary insights into 16th century Venice, a time when this magnificent city almost rivaled Rome with its grand monuments and imposing palaces.

Giovanni, an intellectual and scholar, directed the renovation work himself to give this building the classical imprint so many people have come to appreciate. He had a passion for collecting antiquities, and his intention was to recreate an ancient Roman residence. This is quite evident the minute you step inside the Palazzo Grimani’s courtyard.

It has a unique style inspired by both the cultural climate of the Renaissance and the Roman Domus. There are niches that were created to showcase Giovanni’s classical statue collection, and inside, even more splendor awaits.

In addition to the many statues and antiquities are the gorgeous, colorful frescoes, Roman-style gildings, exquisite stuccoes, and Grotesque decorations which are inspired by images inside the Domus Aurea.


The Palazzo Grimani Today

Although most of Grimani’s collection is now housed at the National Archeological Museum, the palace once housed over 200 pieces that were collected by Giovanni and his uncle Domenico. Over 130 of them were displayed in Tribuna, which happens to be the most breathtaking room in the palace. It has a high ceiling, inspired by the Pantheon of Rome, where the one source of light in the room came from above.

This is certainly the highlight of any visit to this carefully preserved building. To reach this room, you have to go through a series of many other rooms. Inside it, you’ll get a marvelous view of a sculpture that depicts the Rape of Ganymede. It hangs in the middle of the room – its original spot to which it was returned after the completion of the palace restorations.

Today, the Palazzo Grimani in Venice is still one of the most admired buildings in the city. Get ready to experience the original architecture, beautiful decorations, and troubled history of this astounding museum. You’ll spend some extremely pleasant hours discovering the Venetian Renaissance.

Too often, visitors to this iconic city only focus on the world-renowned venues, such as the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. This is one of Venice’s hidden gems that you’ll absolutely love to see and explore.

A guided tour here will reveal to you all the secrets of this storied building and its contents. And now is the perfect time to visit because the curators of the Palazzo Grimani recently reopened the Sculpture Gallery where Grimani’s original sculpture collection has finally been reunited after over 400 years!



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