Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy

Located on the Grand Canal in Venice, the Palazzo Grassi design of the building is attributed to Giorgio Massari (1687-1766), who was at that period terminating Ca' Rezzonico on the opposite side of the Grand Canal. Palazzo Grassi was the last palace to be erected in Venice before the fall of the Republic and the largest sited on the Grand Canal. The building of monumental marble palazzos, dominating a noble and panoramic site was certainly one of the most recognizable and unmistakable signs of a family's newly-acquired status and wealth. It is believed that the Grassi family began to purchase land and buildings for their Palazzo beginning in the 1730s. Having amassed enough land opening on to the Grand Canal in the early 1740s, they could undertake their ambitious building project.

The first great fondaco-houses along the Grand Canal were built in the thirteenth century. It was during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that resplendent and colorful Venetian Gothic style was employed. During the Renaissance, however, architectural orders and rules based both on Ancient Roman as well as modern precepts were used.

The white marble palace for the Grassi family was completed by 1872. Its architecture expresses an academic classicism that is somewhat out of touch with the surrounding Venetian palazzos. It has a formal palace façade, lacking the lower mercantile openings, with an especially rhythmic arrangement of the bays.

After the Grassi family sold Palazzo Grassi in 1840, its ownership passed through many different individual hands. In 1983, the Palazzo was purchased by the FIAT group with the goal of transforming the building into an exhibition space for the visual arts. Since 2006, the palace is owned by the French entrepreneur François Pinault who exhibits his art collection there.

The Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony honoring Italian architect, Aldo Rossi, took place at this palace in Venice in 1990.


Read Aldo Rossi's Ceremony Acceptance Speech


palazzo grassi