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Giardino Grande di Palazzo Venezia


It is a green oasis in the heart of the city, dominated by perfection and harmony, but also the fulcrum of the palace that Cardinal Pietro Barbo, the future Pope Paul II, had built for himself in the second half of the 15th century and which remains to this day a majestic example of Renaissance architecture.   

From the 15th-century courtyard, transformed into a garden during the 19th century, it is possible to enjoy the view on some key elements of the building. The side of the medieval Basilica of San Marco, with its Romanesque bell tower stands on the the eastern flank of the courtyard. The two-tiered portico that occupies the north-eastern side was possibly built by Marco Barbo, nephew of Paul II, upon the death of his uncle. The building clearly follows a classical design scheme: the most evident source of inspiration is the Colosseum. However, its authorship remains uncertain: some experts believe that Leon Battista Alberti must have been directly involved in the design while other identify Francesco del Borgo as the architect.

The star of the courtyard, however, is the beautiful fountain commissioned in 1730 from Carlo Monaldi, when the palace was still home to the Embassy of the Republic of Venice. The statue in the center is the allegorical figure of the lagoon city, depicted throwing a ring into the basin below – an allusion to Venice’s marriage to the sea that was re-enacted every year in the millennial ceremony of the Festa della Sensa, established in memory of the victory of Venetian ships over Dalmatia that gave the city unchallenged dominion over the Adriatic in the year 1000.

Add to the charm of the small garden are boxwood hedges, palms and magnolias, along with other varieties of plants and flowers, which were added since the 19th century perhaps under the influence of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, during the years when the building was the seat of the Austrian Embassy. Following a careful restoration carried out in 2016, the garden freely welcomes visitors every day.



POINT (12.4810964 41.8964079)

Open every day from 9.30 to 18.30

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Giardino Grande di Palazzo Venezia, Via del Plebiscito, 118
Via del Plebiscito, 118
41° 53' 47.0688" N, 12° 28' 51.9456" E


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