Officially titled Palazzo Santa Sofia, the Ca’ d’Oro (or “Golden House”) is one of the oldest palaces on Venice’s Grand Canal. It was nicknamed due to the gilt and polychrome decorations that once adorned the walls, with delicate marble filigree by Bartolomeo Bon on the façade that would have made an undeniably impressive vision.
The Ca’ d’Oro was built by architects Giovanni Bon and his son, Bartolomeo Bon, between 1428 and 1430 for the wealthy Contarini family. It changed ownership numerous times following the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, with the ballet dancer Marie Taglioni and the baron Giorgio Franchetti both once owning it. Franchetti conducted extensive restorations of the palace, including the reconstruction of a Gothic stairway that Marie Taglioni had removed, and adorned its walls in his private art collection of Venetian masters.
Franchetti bequeathed the Ca' d'Oro to the Italian State in 1916, enabling the public access to this beautiful landmark of Venetian history. It is considered one of the finest remaining examples of Venetian Gothic architecture and provides a fascinating insight into the lives of wealthy Venetians during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Take the time to admire the floral Gothic ornamentations on the façade of the Ca' d'Oro that faces the Grand Canal, which is similar to the nearby Palazzo Barbaro and the Palazzo Giustinian. A colonnaded loggia leads into the grand entrance hall, with columns and arches along the enclosed balcony, while the works of Titian, Van Dyck and Bernini adorn the walls.