Hidden treasures

Desdemona's house on the Grand Canal in Venice

Mysteries & Legends

Desdemona's house on the Grand Canal in Venice

Every building on the Grand Canal of Venice hides many stories and legends...

In front of the Basilica della Salute you can admire the beautiful Contarini Fasan Palace, traditionally considered the home of Desdemona, one of the characters in Othello, the play by William Shakespeare. It is a beautiful and small Gothic palace with elegant balconies and fretwork design.

Legend has it that Nicola Contarini lived here, a Venetian heroic leader in the wars against the Turks in the first half of the 1500s who seemed to have the skin so dark as to be called' ‘Moor'.

His story would be a bit 'different from what then narrated by ‘bard': his wife, Palma Querini, who was extremely exasperated by the terrible jealousy of her husband, returned to her family of origin, while he, accused of trying to strangle his wife, was then killed.

Another tradition, however, would identify Shakespeare's Othello with Cristoforo Moro (hence the nickname 'the Moor'). This admiral of the Venetian fleet, in 1515 married a daughter of Donato from Lezze, nicknamed 'White Devil' – hence Desdemona. In 1508, whilst heading for Candia (modern Crete, at the time the domain of the Venice Republic), he lost his wife while travelling in mysterious circumstances.

If you are fond of legends, mysteries and curiosities, our private guided tour of Venice might be the right solution for you! Francesca, the author of our section and our tour guide in Venice, will involve you in a unique and exciting visit, custom built just for you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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