Hidden treasures

The foliated room of Palazzo Grimani in Venice

Unknown places & works

The foliated room of Palazzo Grimani in Venice

In the heart of the Castello district there is one of the most spectacular Renaissance buildings in Venice: Palazzo Grimani.

Acquired at the beginning of 1500s by Doge Antonio for his children, the palace was then enlarged and renovated by the Doge's grandson, Giovanni, the Patriarch of Aquileia (1506- 1593).

Giovanni Grimaldi was definitely one of the greatest representatives of the Renaissance culture in Venice: the palace was enlarged and decorated in order to accommodate his amazing collection of Greek and Roman marbles!

The ecclesiastical career of the patriarch suffered a meltdown in 1546 because of an accusation of heresy, from which he had to defend himself in Rome and at the Council of Trent. Despite being found innocent, Grimani failed to get nominated as cardinal which he strongly wanted (he even had a portrait of himself made wearing cardinal's clothes!).

This episode, which anguished him until his death, is illustrated in one of the most beautiful rooms of his palace, the foliated room.

Decorated by the artist Camillo Mantovano around 1660s, it has an incredible frescoed ceiling with a thick forest where birds and plants are depicted (including 'exotic' species just arrived from the New World, such as tobacco and maize).

The lunettes represent animals and mottos in Latin: these are rebuses that allude to the troubled trial for heresy suffered by the patriarch and reiterate his innocence and his faithfulness to the church of Rome.

Today Palazzo Grimani has been turned into a museum, open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.15 am to 7.15 pm. The original architecture, the beauty of the decorations and the troubled history that has marred its events, make it a destination of great charm in Venice tours ... Upon request, Palazzo Grimani can be included in an original guided tour to discover the Venetian Renaissance!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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