Foscari Palace


Venice: Palazzo Foscari - 21 kB

General remarks:

Date:from 1453 on
Address:Dorsoduro 3246
Current use:UniversitÓ di Ca'Foscari
Overview map:locate


Ca'Foscari is for sure one of the architectural apogees in Venice, albeit the loss of much of its original splendor, especially during the 19th century. According to recent scholarship, it was built by the doge Francesco Foscari from 1453 on. In 1574, King Henry III of France was a guest in this palazzo. Together with the Palazzo Giustiniani at the left, the palace constitutes the largest gothic palace ensemble in the city and is situated in the prominent position of the so-called "volta di Canal".
Foscari palace is the single example of eight-arch loggias in the piani nobili. The loggia traceries, which can also be found repeated in the second piano nobile lateral single windows and the last floor, are based on the Doge's palace. Together with the frieze above the loggia (which is also based on the Doge's palace), the second piano nobile is especially accentuated. Except this frieze, the façade is symmetrical. The excessive use of traceries and the palace's size constitutes a manifest demonstration of ecomomical and political power.
An engraving by Luca Carlevariis shows the open stairway running at the left court wall over two podests to the portego of the second piano nobile. This staircase is destroyed. Today a modern interior staircase is at the position where initially was the smaller court. The rear façade dates probably from the late Seicento. The alterations on the right side, including the insertion of a mezzanine in the piano nobile, are from the same epoch.
Ca'Foscari was bought by the municipality of Venice in 1854. However, it served as a hospital in 1849, and later as a barrack for austrian soldiers. The bad state of the monument during this time is described in details by John Ruskin. The building has been restored since 1997. In March, 2005 the scaffold was removed from the main façade, which is now elutriated. Remnants of exterior frescoes in the courtyard and along the Rio di Ca'Foscari have been uncovered during the restoration, directed by Arch. Giorgio Bellavitis.

Related buildings


Arslan (1970) pp. 75, 115, 145, 184, 204, 206, 254, 258
Concina (1995) p. 108, 110-112, 173
Diruf (1990) pp. 49-57
Huse/Wolters (1996) p. 30,80
Lauritzen/Zielcke (1979) p. 115-121
Maretto (1961) p. 103-105
Sartori, Fabiola (ed.): La casa grande dei Foscari in volta de Canal. Venezia 2001

External resources


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Venice architecture - palaces

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