Hidden treasures

Desdemona's house on the Grand Canal in Venice

Mysteries & Legends
contarini

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

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

duri-i-banchi
Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...

View

Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

peste
Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...

View

Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Frittelle_di_carnevale
Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...

View

Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Melusina
Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View