Ca' Dario, the unusual Renaissance façade.
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Ca' Dario, the unusual Renaissance façade.

Ca’ Dario

Ca' Dario is a palace built from Istria stone and decorated with fine polychrome marble details. It is the symbol of the magnificence of what was then the new Renaissance in Venice.

The palace has an unusual offset façade, leaning to the right: the writer Henry James used to describe it as a castle of cards, ready to collapse at the slightest touch. This asymmetrical building was built in or around 1487 by Pietro Lombardo for Giovanni Dario, the secretary of the Senate and later the Venetian ambassador in Byzantium.
Marble cladding returned to vogue in Venice with the Lombardo family from Ticino, having previously been popular in the 1200s.

Marble façades were very expensive and so an excellent way to show off wealth. According to popular tradition, there used to be a necropolis where Ca’ Dario now stands: a rumour that spread on account of a long series of five centuries of misfortune and the untimely death of the owners in various rooms in this palace.

1300 - 1400  -   DORSODURO - rev. 0.1.5

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