Palazzo Grassi - History and Facts | History Hit

Palazzo Grassi

Amy Irvine

31 May 2023
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Didier Descouens / CC BY-SA 4.0

About Palazzo Grassi

The elegant Palazzo Grassi is one of a number of large palaces along the Grand Canal, and its neoclassical facade showcases Venice’s grandeur and artistic heritage. However, the palace is also rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who allegedly threw herself (or was thrown) from one of balconies of the courtyard of the palace.

History of Palazzo Grassi

During the 16th century, Palazzo Grassi was owned by the Cini family, then acquired by Alamanno Aragon Hocheppan (grandson of Cosimo I) in 1605, before being inhabited by the Grassi family in 1655. The Palazzo Grassi seen today was designed by Giorgio Massari, and rebuilt between 1748 and 1772, and stands-out from the surrounding Byzantine Romanesque and Baroque Venetian palaces due to its academic classical style.

The Palazzo Grassi was the last palace to be built on the Grand Canal before the fall of the Venetian Republic, and the largest-sited. The Grassi family sold the palazzo in 1840, and the Palazzo then served various purposes throughout history, including housing an International Centre of Arts and Costume from 1951-1983. In 1983, it was purchased by the Fiat Group and underwent a complete restoration, transforming into an art gallery.

Many say that the palace is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who threw herself (or was perhaps thrown) from a balcony after being beaten, and some inhabitants say they have heard someone calling them by name or whispering inaudible words in their ear.

Indeed during the restoration of the building in the 1980’s, an old night watchman was walking through the Palazzo’s halls when he heard a voice from nowhere, calling him and telling him to stop. After taking a moment to recover from the shock, the man lit his torch (he was used to moving around in the dark as he knew the place well), and began looking for the person who had called him, without success. The man couldn’t find any evidence that anyone else had been near him, but did notice that the voice had stopped him one step away from a hole left in the floor by the workers without any safety measures placed around it. If he hadn’t heard the voice, he would have likely died, thus the ghost of Palazzo Grassi saved his life.

Palazzo Grassi today

Palazzo Grassi is now the headquarters of the Foundation of billionaire and contemporary art collector Francois Pinault, and still serves as an art museum, hosting prestigious exhibitions and contemporary art installations, with its spacious halls and galleries providing a captivating setting for showcasing diverse artistic expressions.

Getting to Palazzo Grassi

Palazzo Grassi is located between the Palazzo Moro Lin and the campo San Samuele on Venice’s Grand Canal.

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