One palace is in the Venetian Gothic style, influenced by Byzantine and Moorish architecture, and it dates back to 1425, when it was crafted by acclaimed stonemason Giovanni Bon. The other palace was designed by celebrated architect Antonio Gaspari in 1694, and is in the Baroque style.
The Palazzo was owned until the nineteenth century by the noble Barbaro family(for whom artist Tiepolo painted ‘The Glorification of the Barbaro Family’, now on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art). When the last of the Barbaro line died, the Palazzo was sold off to a group of investors, who rented it to Daniel Sargent Curtis (relatedto the painter John Singer Sargent). Curtis renovated extensively and made the Palazzo a centre for the arts. In the following years many artists, musicians and writers stayed there:
- Claude Monet
- Edith Wharton
- Henry James
- John Singer Sargent
- Robert Browning
Henry James was particularly taken with the Palazzo – and the desk at which he wrote is still there today. His novel The Wings of the Dove describes ballroom of the Palazzo, which was later used as a location in the film of the book.
So the Palazzo has long been an inspiring location for those with a passion for the arts. To write there today, at a desk overlooking beautiful Venice – what a dream! Or, in fact, a reality, if you’re in the market for a new home? A four-bedroom apartment is currently for sale in the Palazzo, complete with Venetian flooring, a frescoed ceiling and a mosaic-tiled bathroom. This little historical haven will set you back two million euros, however… just a dream then. But a lovely one!