|Address:||San Marco 4799|
|Current use:||Bank of Italy|
Giovanni Dolfin, sole heir of his father's immense fortune and follower of doge Andrea Gritti, became Proveditore generale in campo in 1529 and became acquainted with the architect Michele Sanmicheli. During Dolfin's time as Podestà of Verona, Sanmicheli was commissioned with the erection of the Porta Nuova and a new portal for the palazzo podestarile. But when Dolfin returned to Venice in 1536 and intended to rebuild his residence in the parish of San Salvador near the Rialto, it was not Sanmicheli, but Jacopo Sansovino who planned the new representative Palazzo Dolfin. It was Sansovino's second grand palace after the Palazzo Corner della Ca'Granda.
Like many other 16th century buildings, palazzo Dolfin had several construction stages. Is is based on two medieval houses of the Dolfin, which are visible on the map "Venetie MD". In 1538, the erection of the part along the Rio dei Coffaneri was authorized - against the opposition of the neighbour families Bembo, Dandolo and Da Molin. Already two years later, in May 1540, the Rio wing was finished. When Giovanni Dolfin died in 1547, the palace was completed.
As the drawings by Visentini and later Gianantonio Selva show, Palazzo Dolfin had a trapezoid plan with quadratic courtyard and a second entrance from the canal. Visentini addtionally shows a east elevation of the courtyard with four axis of colossal ionic and corinthian pilasters. The main staircase was arranged in the northeast corner; an independent access to the second piano nobile was located in the southern wing. The façade on the Grand Canal is entirely revetted with istrian limestone. Colossal ionic and corinthian semi-columns on piedestals form the central four-light loggia and delimit the lateral windows with their wall portions. Like the portego, built over a gap between the old Dolfin houses, the ground floor pillar arcade (Sottoportego Manin) is inherited from the predecessor buildings.
Already in the 17 th century, the Dolfin rent out the palace, but sold is successively to several noble families such as the Pesaro. From the early 18th century, the rich Manin family, which had acquired the nobility in 1651, rented the first floor, and acquired the whole palace in 1787 - ten years before the fall of the republic. From 1793 on, the palace was cored by the architect Giovanni Antonio Selva on behalf of Ludovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, who died in his palace in 1802. The new courtyard shows a bossed ground floor pillar arcade and triangular pediments above the first floor windows. Still in 1810, the Manin library, one of the most important private libraries in Venice, was extended with the Basadonna collection, but successively sparsed due to the economic decline of the Manin. In 1867 the palace was sold to the Banca Nazionale del Regno.
During the restructuring of alleys around the Rialto in the late 19th century, the Calle della Scimmia, formerly bordering the palace on the north, was enlarged to the Calle larga Mazzini.
Some scholars, particularly George Knox, assume that Giovanni Battista Tiepolo created two ceiling paintings on the occasion of the marriage between Ludovico Manin and Elisabetta Grimani in 1748, and further, that several paintings of a "Tasso" cycle were once collocated in a single room of Palazzo Manin.
The Manin also possessed a villa in Passariano near Udine, which is open to the public.
© 1999-2007 J.-Ch. Rößler
Venice architecture - palaces