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: What’s the traditional Redentore food?

sarde-saor
Local Traditions

The number one traditional celebration, celebrated every year the third weekend of July, Redentore gives thanks for the end of the terr...

View

Venice: The village of Dolo and its inhabitants

Dolo
Figures of speech

In the province of Venice there is a small village, Dolo, which doesn’t have a great reputation... The dialect expression ‘Ma te vi...

View

Venice: The crypt of the church of San Simeone Piccolo

san-simeone-piccolo-venezia
Unknown places & works

As soon as you leave the train station in Venice, you will see the imposing dome of the church of San Simeone Piccolo, renovated in the...

View

Vicenza: The legend of the Dwarves of Villa Valmarana ai Nani

Villa_Valmarana_ai_Nani
Mysteries & Legends

Villa Valmarana ai Nani in Vicenza, Italy, is one of the best known and most visited villas in the Veneto region thanks to the frescoes...

View

Top posts

Treviso: The Jewish cemetery in Conegliano

cimitero-conegliano
Unknown places & works

Not everyone knows that the city of Conegliano was once home to one of the most important Jewish communities in the Veneto region, both...

View

Belluno: Tiziano Vecellio’s birthplace in Pieve di Cadore

casa-tiziano-pieve
Big Names

In the heart of the UNESCO-enlisted Dolomites, there is a small, picturesque village: Pieve di Cadore. It is a special place for the hi...

View

Vicenza: The Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa

Ponte-degli-Alpini-Bassano
Historical Curiosities

If you are passionate about bridges, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa, in the Province ...

View

Venice: A high relief of Hercules on the façade of Tintoretto’s house

casa-tintoretto-venezia
Mysteries & Legends

In the Cannaregio district in Venice stands the house of the famous painter Jacopo Robusti, known as 'Tintoretto' (1519-1594). On the f...

View