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Inspiration from the Above: 7 Unique Homes with Decorative Ceilings

luxury palazzo venice italy

This historic palazzo occupies the piano nobile (“noble floor”) of a Baroque palace in Venice’s Santa Croce sestiere, a brisk walk from the Rialto market and Venezia Santa Lucia railway station.  

Palazzo Gradenigo was built circa 1600 for the Gradenigo family, a noble family of the Venetian patriciate. Its architect, Domenico Margutti, was a disciple of Baldassare Longhena, a master of Baroque architecture.  

Within are 2,906 square feet of museum-quality interiors, which underwent an extensive restoration in 1999. The entrance features two marble arches crowned with statues. 

A majestic marble staircase designed by Longhena himself rises to two reception halls. The first features an ornate ceiling with decorative 18th-century plasterwork and monumental French doors opening to a view of the Rio Marin Canal.

The second hall is the pièce de résistance, its magnificent ceiling frescoes were painted by Italian Old Master Jacopo Guarana. Solid stone columns, bas-reliefs, and a gilded family crest heighten the splendor.   

The principal suite (one of two bedrooms) has a beautiful frescoed ceiling, marble bathroom, study, and walk-in closet. A kitchen, full bathroom, and laundry room round out the interior appointments.

Also of note are Palazzo Gradenigo’s formal gardens, which inspired scenes from Gabriele D’Annunzio’s 1900 novel, Il Fuoco (The Flame).  

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