PALACE CA FOSCARI, VENICE

Ca' Foscari, the palace of the Foscari family, is a Gothic building on the waterfront of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Built for the doge Francesco Foscari in 1453 and designed by the architect Bartolomeo Bon, it is now the main seat of Ca' Foscari University of Venice. The palace is located on the widest bend of the Grand Canal. Here, during the annual Regata Storica (Historical Regatta, held on the first Sunday in September, a floating wooden structure known as La Machina is placed (from this structure the Venetian authorities watch at the race); this also the site of the finishing line is set and venue for prize-giving.

History

Previously a Byzantine palace, known as the "House with the two Towers", stood on the site; this was bought by the Republic of Venice in 1429 from Bernardo Giustinian, to be the residence of the vice-captain of the Republic, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga. The palace consisted of two towers flanking a lower, central block and was used for entertaining illustrious guests of the Republic, including kings and diplomats. In 1439, the palace was given to another captain, Francesco Sforza. However, In 1447, Francesco Sforza betrayed the Republic and was deprived of the residence. In 1453 the Republic of Venice regained possession of the palace and sold it by auction to the Doge of the time, Francesco Foscari; he had the palace demolished and rebuilt in late Venetian gothic style; the building was chosen by the doge for its position on the Grand Canal. Foscari immediately set about rebuilding the palace in a manner befitting his status: he moved the site of the new palace forward on to the bank of the Grand Canal.

Buying and rebuilding the palace for himself meant for the doge affirming his political and military role: he actually represented the continuity of the military successes of that period, lasted 30 years, and was the promoter of the Venetian expansion on mainland. The huge new palace could hardly have been finished when Foscari was disgraced in 1457 and retired to his new home until his death. In 1574 king Henry III of France was housed in the second floor of the building. The most recent restoration of Ca' Foscari and Ca' Giustinian (the palace adjacent to Ca' Foscari) was commissioned in 2004, aiming to fulfill the new requirements of safety and practicality. Work lasted from January 2004 until the summer of 2006. Presently the palace is the headquarters of the Ca', which has made accessible to the public some of the most beautiful halls, such as the "Aula Baratto" and the "Aula Berengo". In 2013, thanks to a series of important technical measures for energy efficiency and thanks to the adoption of stringent environmental management practices put in place by the Ca' Foscari University, the building obtains the LEED certificate for sustainability, thus becoming the oldest.

Tags: Venice,, Dorsoduro,

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