Two adjacent buildings joined by the same family: the Barbaro, one of the oldest houses of the Venetian patriciate. During the stay of the Curtis, the American writer Henry James was hosted in the palace, in whose rooms he set his novel The wings of the dove (Le ali della colomba).

Located near Palazzo Franchetti, this residence is made up of two side-by-side buildings, Palazzo Barbaro Curtis and Palazzo Barbaro in Santo Stefano.

The oldest was built on a design by Giovanni Bon in 1425 and was initially in the hands of the Spiera family, then of Pietro Franco, a seller of spices and medicinal herbs; it was then the turn of Nicolò Aldioli, to finally pass to his heirs up to Zaccaria Barbaro. The facade of this building is traditionally divided into three parts, with archaic elements that blend well with the fifteenth-century elements. At the level of the first noble floor, now owned by Piergiorgio and Franca Coin, you can see the magnificent four-light window with four-lobed openwork from the 15th century while on the second floor the multi-light window has the appearance of the 14th century. Of the two original water portals, today only one is open while the closed one ran along the Rio dell’Orso. 

The more recent building, on the other hand, with evident elements in the Baroque style, was commissioned by the Barbaro to the architect Antonio Gaspari in 1694, the result of the renovation of a previous building and which was to house a wonderful ballroom. The building from 1499 was the seat of the French embassy, ​​then passed to the Hungarian embassy in 1514 and in 1524 Isabella d 'Este stationed there for some time, in mourning for the death of her consort, the Marquis of Mantua. 

The interiors of the Palazzo host prestigious paintings by Sebastiano Ricci and Giambattista Piazzetta wrapped in sumptuous stuccos; Note also the beautiful mosaic floor in Venetian style, including mother-of-pearl among the pieces. The 18th century library is of notable wealth and elegance, adorned with colored stuccoes, a hull ceiling and airy bookcases interspersed with large windows. 

When the Barbaro family tree became extinct, on December 3, 1885 the palace was bought by the American Daniel Sargent Curtis and wife Ariana Wormely Curtis, merchants from Boston, after they had lived there for four years. Thanks to the intense family economic activity, the spouses, together with their son painter Ralph Curtis, built a cultural and artistic nucleus of international importance, hosting various personalities including: John Singer Sargent, James McNeil Wistler, Andrei Zom, Henry James, Robert Browing and later Claude Monet.

Traveling is wonderful, if you travel in knowledge it is doubly so. Venipedia Supporter is a good way to help us make this journey together ever more participatory, comfortable, useful and stimulating: in knowledge, in discovery, in exploration, in beauty, in inspiration and in how much it can improve the future of all of us. Day by day. Support the quality of Venipedia, with only € 29 per year

Forever yours,
the Venipedian Masters

Support Venipedia

Venipedia Supporter is an annual subscription that gives you access to additional services (like the newsletter Five from the Encyclopedia and Your voice area, which is automatically renewed on expiry if you do not decide to cancel or suspend it, from your personal area (you must have a Venipedia account).

Read also