Why should you visit Querini Stampalia?
What was the importance of the Querini Family?
The Querini belonged to a very restricted group of venetian families so called “Case Vecchie” (Old Houses/families), i.e. families that were present in the lagoon since the early stages of venetian civilization. The last member of the family was Giovanni Querini who in 1869 decided to donated all his belongings to the the city of Venice establishing a foundation that brings the family name.
A Querini ever become Doge of Venice?
Despite being one of the most important families of Venice, they never had a Doge among their members, also due to the fact that in 1310 Marco Querini participated in the conspiracy organized by Bajamonte Tiepolo against the Doge Pietro Gradenigo to subvert the order of the Republic of Venice. The shame of the betrayal never allowed a family member to be elected Doge. The period of maximum splendor and importance of the family is probably between the end of the seventeenth and the whole of the eighteenth century, when some members of the family had the office of Procurators of San Marco, and Elisabetta Querini, being the wife of Doge Silvestro Valier, the title of Dogaressa.
Why visit the Querini Stampalia Foundation Museum?
Ca ‘Querini is a splendid example of a Venetian house (as well as Ca’ Rezzonico or Ca’ Mocenigo) which illustrates how people lived in a noble palace at the time of the Serenissima. There is a splendid ancient bedroom, an 18th century style table set, a music room. The art collections found in the palace were bought or commissioned by the Querini themselves over the centuries and are still visible in situ. This also makes us understand the mentality of the family and the ways of celebrating oneself.
And the scenes of Venetian life of the eighteenth century?
Another reason why this splendid palace is really worth visiting is the collection of paintings by Gabriel Bella (1730-1799) depicting scenes of Venetian life from the 18th century: parties, processions, etc. In addition, there are also some paintings by Pietro Longhi, always with a theme of Venetian life of the 18th century, but of a more intimate nature
Is “acqua alta” a problem for Carlo Scarpa?
The restoration and renovation work was undertaken by the architect Carlo Scarpa in the early 1960s. In addition to the splendid garden, a fusion of traditional Venetian elements, modernist architecture and Zen spirituality, Scarpa also intervened on the entrance halls facing the canal, with a splendid project to “manage” the “acqua alta” (high water or high tide) without opposing it with massive barriers, but creating steps, pools and a kind of small walk allowing people to pass from one part of the building to the other even during “acqua alta”. Even today several architects refer to his language not only in Italy but all over the world.
Text and photos by Andrea Donà