Zenobio Palace


Venice: Palazzo Zenobio - 21 kB

General remarks:

Architect:Antonio Gaspari
Address:Dorsoduro 2597
Current use:Collegio Armeno 'Moorat Raphael'
Overview map:locate


The Zenobio family, rich landowner from Verona, acquired the title of Venetian Noblemen in 1647 for the sum of 160.000 ducats and in 1664 a gothic palace from the Morosini family. In comparison with other palaces of the same time and especially the Palazzo Giustinian at Murano, which was also modified by Gaspari, the broad U-like plan is not typical, but details of the austere main façade show similarities with the Palazzo Barbaro. A large coat of arms, which was initially above the tympana of the central loggia, does not exist any more. Two quadratic small courtyard are behind the first rooms at the left and right side of the ballroom. The ballroom itself is behind the central balcony of the main façade and extends over two floors. A small stairway in the left wing (which gets light from the small courtyard) gives access to the piano nobile.
Gaspari conserved half of the original portego of the Morosini building and added a serliana to distinguish it formally from the new ballroom. Again, like already at Palazzo Barbaro, the ballroom of Palazzo Zenobio has the height of two floors. An orchestra gallery was added above the serliana. Louis (Lodovico) Dorigny, a french painter, created a large trompe-l'oeil ceiling fresco with Aurora and the wagon of Apollo. One of the ceilings in the portego, still by Dorigny, shows a allegory of prudence and strength. But also the wall paintings by Luca Carlevariis and the ceiling frescoes by Lazzarini and in the vouted 'portego' and the lateral rooms are of high quality. Alas, two ceiling paintings in the second piano nobile, attributed to Antonio Balestra, recently "disappeared".
Behind the palazzo, there is a large garden with the former library that still has baroque interior decoration. In the 19th century, the palace became for a short period property of the Albrizzi due to the marriage of Alba Zenobio with Alessandro Albrizzi in 1783. While the represantative rooms towards the main façade are well preserved, the rooms of the wing enfilades are quite austere.
Today, Palazzo Zenobio partially serves as a hostel and is also used for Biennale exibitions, which are not always tasteful and try to gain from the contrast.

Additional pictures:

illusionistic ceiling fresco of the ball hall by Louis Dorigny
114 kB (100x68)

A ceiling fresco with stucco works in the right wing
47 kB (100x67)

The courtyard of Palazzo Zenobio. Photo 2003
47 kB (85x100)


Bassi (1976) pp. 37, 57, 63, 190, 273, 284, 293, 326s, 348-353
Lauritzen/Zielcke (1979) pp. 237-239
Pavanello, Giuseppe: Schedule settecentesce: Da Tiepolo a Canova, in: Arte in Friuli 18.1999, (pp. 53-114), p. 67s

External resources

Acknowledgements for help/information:

Renzo Scarpa


© 1999-2007 J.-Ch. Rößler
Venice architecture - palaces

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