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The palace, which overlooks the Grand Canal, was designed in 1600 by Baldassare Longhena (1598-1682), commissioned by the noble Pesaro family.

The building was planned in a tripartite scheme, a part on the Grand Canal with a staircase to interrupt the entrance hall, the internal courtyard and the service part.

On the death of Longhena, the continuation was entrusted to Gian Antonio Gaspari who modified the original plan, removing the staircase and modifying the internal courtyard, it was finished in 1710.

The palace was inherited by the Gradenigo family which was subsequently purchased by Duke La Masa.

In 1889 the Duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa donated it to the Municipality of Venice so that it could be used for the diffusion of the figurative and industrial art of little-known artists.

In 1902 it was destined to house the Gallery of Modern Art which is the first in Italy for the number and quality of foreign works and the second for Italian works.

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