The 4 Greatest Venice Museums – Life & Fashion



Despite its small size Venice is home to some great museums. When we're in a place like the City of Islands, we like to dig just a little bit into its history, to find out what makes it tick and how it became what it is today. For instance, we like the Museo Ca'Rezzonico, that unveils what life was like for 18th-century wealthy Venetians.

Some of the museums show the romance of Venice — like "The House of the Magician", dedicated to the life and decorative art of Mariano Fortuny, who created some of the most sumptuous fabrics of the early 20th century. Similar, Venice is home to Palazzo Mocenigo, a museum of fashion and costume. You'll want to put these four on your must-visit list —

Ca'Rezzonico - Museum of 18th-Century Venice

Ca'Rezzonico

Curious about life of the rich and famous Venetians in the 1700s? Peek inside the palace of the wealthy Rezzonico (ret-ZON-ee-koh) family. The grand home on the Grand Canal is filled with dazzling furniture, art and details.

Baroque architect Longhena (he also designed the Santa Maria della Salute church) built the palace for the Bon family but financial troubles forced them out, making room for the Rezzonico family of Lombardy to move in and live la dolce vita. By 1810 no family members were left and the palace passed through many hands, including Robert Barret Browning, before it was sold to the city of Venice in 1935. Closed on Tuesdays, December 25, and January 1.

Ca'Rezzonico Highlights
  • Ballroom — the 5,600-square-foot room features lavish frescoes, a ceiling painting, chandeliers of gold-covered wood and period piece furniture.
  • Paintings by Pietro Longhi — The Alchemist. The Hilarious Pair. the Morning Chocolate. The Apothecary.
  • Website

Museo Correr

Museo Correr

The museum, a quiet escape from the frenetic Palazzo San Marco, is actually three museums — The Correr, The National Archaeological Museum, and the Monumental Rooms of the Marciana National Library. You could spend a lot of time examining old maps, coins and portraits of dead government officials or you can head directly to Canova's rooms.

The museum teems with works by Venetian's favourite son, Antonio Canova (1757-1822) a master sculptor. Canova studied in Rome, Pompeii and was called to Napoleon's court in Paris. Canova's best known work is Napoleon's sister Pauline reclining nude as Venus, now housed in Rome's Galleria Borghese. There are also great works done by the Bellini family of painters — Jacopo, Gentile and Giovanni Bellini. Piazzo San Marco. Closed on December 25th and January 1st

Correr Museum Highlights
  • Canova — Orpheus and Eurydice. Monument to Titian. Cupid and Psyche. Paris.
  • Bellini — Crucifixion. Portrait of Doge Mocenigo. The Dead Christ Supported by Two Angels. Madonna and Child.
  • Website

Palazzo Fortuny Museum

Palazzo Fortuny Museum

In Venice they call it "The House of the Magician". Here's where Mariano Fortuny set up his atelier in 1907 to create his gorgeous fabrics, gowns and lamps. His muse was a French widow, Henriette Negrin, a model and seamstress who helped him shape his vision and eventually bequeathed the estate to the city of Venice.

Fortuny was also an accomplished painter, photographer and set designer before at age 36 he broke into women's fashion with printed fabrics and his famous Delphos gown, inspired by tunics from Ancient Greece. They call him The Magician because nobody knows for sure how he made his sumptuous fabrics. Closed on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Years Day

Palazzo Fortuny Museum Highlights
  • 150 of his paintings.
  • The celebrated theatre dome that provided him with the necessary light for his photography.
  • The collection of clothes, fabrics, prints, ornamental clothes, made of cotton, silk, taffeta and silk.
  • Website

Museum of Textiles & Costumes

Palazzo Mocenigo

Located in Palazzo Mocenigo, an extravagant manor once belonging to the Mocenigos, an important Venetian family that boasted seven doges over the centuries. Highlights are the Costume Museum, the Study Center of the History of Fabrics and Costumes, and a perfume exhibit.

The rooms of the museum come alive with mannequins arranged as if they are in mid-sentence in a party, dressed in formal styles of the day — silky gowns in jewel tones, low cut bodices embellished with gold and pearls. Closed on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Palazzo Mocenigo Highlights
  • Insights into the life in Venice of the 18th century
  • A private collection of Murano glass perfume bottles
  • The Merchant of Venice perfume collection & interactive perfume exhibit
  • Website