Straddling the southwestern flank of Venice’s Grand Canal, work on the flamboyant Ca’ Rezzonico was first started in 1649 by Baroque architect Baldassare Longhena, but was never completed. More than a century later, the wealthy Rezzonico clan bought the empty shell in 1751 and handed over completion of their palazzo to master craftsman Giorgio Massari, who was given a remit to create the most opulent residence in Venice. It has an exterior of extreme intricacy, with arcades, porticos and arched recessed windows, while inside all is marble staircases, gilded apartments and mammoth ballrooms covered in intricate frescoes and trompe l’oeil paintings by great Venetian artists such as Tiepolo and Visconti.
Over the years the three-story palazzo changed hands several times and at one point was owned by English Romantic poet Robert Browning, who died there in 1889, and today it hosts the Museum of 18th-Century Venice, portraying a time when the city was at its most wealthy and decadent. The museum opened in 1936 and pays homage to the finest furniture, paintings and decorative arts of the period, while a series of colorful caricatures by Pietro Lunghi satirize the frivolity of contemporary life as the all-powerful Venetian Republic came to a close.
Dorsoduro 3136. Open Apr–Oct daily 10am–6pm; Nov–Mar daily 10am–5pm. Admission is adults €10; concessions seniors, students, children aged 6–16 €7.50. Accessible by vaporetto (ferry boat) from Piazzale Roma, Lido and Santa Lucia railway station.