Hidden treasures

Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo on the Grand Canal in Venice and the Polignac princes

Unknown places & works

Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo on the Grand Canal in Venice and the Polignac princes

Along the Grand Canal, near the Accademia bridge, there is a beautiful Renaissance palace built in the second half of the fifteenth century, Palazzo Contarini.

In 1901, the building was bought by someone very special: Winaretta Singer (1865- 1943).

Winaretta Singer was the twentieth of the 24 children of Isaac Merritt Singer, the inventor of the sewing machine, and Isabelle Boyer, future Duchess of Camposelice and probable model for the Statue of Liberty.

Though she had publicly declared his homosexuality, at 22 years Winaretta married Prince Louis de Scey-Montbéliard. The marriage was soon declared invalid by the Catholic Church (1891), that saw it as a great scandal.

At 29, she married Prince Edmond de Polignac, who was also homosexual, composer and music theorist 30 years her senior. The marriage was never consummated but lasted until the end, characterized by great respect and deep friendship between husband and wife, made even closer by a common passion for music and the arts.

Prince de Polignac died eight months after the purchase of the palace on the Grand Canal, but Winaretta continued to spend here a lot of time, especially painting (she had been a pupil of the great Monet).

The building is located near the Accademia stop, and can be reached with lines 1 and 2 of the Venetian public transport, and often houses events and temporary exhibitions.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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