The Ca Rezzonico on the Grand Canal, dedicated to exploring 18th century Venice, is one of the lesser known museums of the city offering a glimpse behind the scenes of life in Venice's great days. The chequered history of the Ca Rezzonico, passing from hand to hand as families grew wealthy then fell from power, is a micro history of Venice itself.
The Rezzonico bought their way into the aristocracy and commissioned Tiepolo and Guarana to create ceiling frescos and trompe l'oeil decorations for their magnificent reception rooms and chapel.
By the 19th century the palazzo was home to Robert Browning and Singer Sargent before an eccentric Count went bankrupt adding to the lush furnishings and art collection. It now houses entire rooms salvaged from distressed Venetian palazzi that have crumbled beyond repair.
SYLVIA SAGONA is an internationally recognised specialist on 19th century French society. She retired from the French Department at The University of Melbourne to work on historical documentaries for French and Australian television and is currently researching a book on the invention of the restaurant in Paris in the 18th century.
image caption: Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), (Italy, 1697 – 1768), The Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, 1732, The Royal Collection, England, RCIN 404417