Fondaco dei Turchi (Fonteco dei Turchi)

Fondaco dei Turchi

Fondaco dei Turchi in Venice

As the name suggests, this building was used by the Turkish as a marketplace and thus represents the multicultural environment of Venice during the period of the Serenissima. This palace on the Grand Canal is today the home of Natural Science Museum.

It was built under the commission of Giacomo Palmieri, the original member of the Pesaro family, in the 13th century. Around the end of the 14th century the palace became property of the Serenissima; according to the historic sources, the Fondaco was a large noble residence, with stairs both on the facade and in the back. Inside, the palace was embellished with decorations and beautiful furniture such as marble fountains, columns and staircases. 

It got its name (Fondaco dei Turchi) from Turkish merchants; in fact, the palace began to become important in the early 16th century when the Serenissima decided to give it to the Turkish merchants to carry out their commercial activities. They kept the Fondaco till 1838. At that time, it was modified in order to separate the businesses from the residences of the citizens; apartments of the Turks were on 3 floors while on the grand floor there were stores, a room with the function of mosque and an room adapted for ritual baths.

The Turkish merchants imported oil, wool, leather, wax and tobacco (since 1700) from the Orient, in exchange for other goods. In about 1860 the palace was totally rebuilt according to the structure of the former building, built in the 13th century.

Firstly, the palace was the home of the Correr Museum which was later moved to St. Mark’s Square. Since 1923, on the initative of Giorgio Silvio Coen, the palace has held the Natural Science Museum.

Today the Fondaco dei Turchi is one of the most beautiful Venetian palaces overlooking the Grand Canal, recognizable for its elegant and sumptuous facade.

Address: Santa Croce, 1730
Phone: 041 2750206; fax: 041 721000
Hours: (Open to the public the Ligabue Expedition room and the Tegnue aquarium)
Tuesday - Friday 9:00am - 1:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 9:00am - 4:00pm
Closed on Mondays, 25th of December, 1st of January, 1st of May
Free entrance
How to get there: line 1 (San Stae)

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