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The Palazzetto Bru Zane

Palazzetto Bru Zane Centre de Musique Romantique Française

For a hundred years, the Casino Zane, built between 1695 and 1697 at San Stin near the Basilica dei Frari, housed the entertainments of the Zane family, who resided in the adjacent Palazzo Zane. As an engraving by Carlevarijs shows, the main palace (now a training school, the Istituto "Livio Sanudo") was separated from the Palazzetto by a formal garden. The building next to the Palazzetto was originally a library, which no longer exists.

In 1682 the workshop of Baldassare Longhena - the most distinguished Venetian architect of the Baroque period, who designed Ca' Pesaro and Ca' Rezzonico - completed the restoration of the Palazzo Zane commissioned by Dominico Zane (d. 1672). On his death the latter had bequeathed his property and an important collection of books and paintings to his nephew Marino. Marino Zane then commissioned the building of a casino (now the Palazzetto) and a library to house the collection left to him, which he had subsequently enlarged.
The architect Antonio Gaspari, who worked in Longhena's workshop, was given carte blanche to design the casino. On his death, his assistant Domenico Rossi carried on the work with the help of artists of repute. The very rich interior decoration is attributed to the famous Abbondio Stazio; the woodwork is by Andrea Brustolon, who carved the ornate wooden balustrade above the main salon. The frescoes in the house have recently been attributed to Sebastiano Ricci.

The palace is listed on the National Register of Historic Monuments. After consultations in 2006, restoration work was begun in 2007, the aims of the Bru Foundation being to restore the building in its original spirit and to create a venue for music.

The building, with an overall area of 800 square metres, is on three levels. Its windows look out over a canal on one side and over the garden on the other. The ground plan is traditional Venetian. The 16 rooms include a concert hall with a seating capacity of up to a hundred. When restoration is complete, there will also be a soundproofed rehearsal studio. A lift for persons with reduced mobility will also be provided. On the first floor - the piano nobile - is the glory of the house: a double-height salon (the music room of the Zane family) with a magnificent coved ceiling on which the viewer can admire a huge painting showing Hercules with Fame and Virtue in the centre, and Olympian gods depicted in grisaille in the four corners. There are also painted shells on the ceiling, which is very unusual in Venice. The room is reached via the grand staircase, which is decorated with splendid frescoes. The Palazzetto Bru Zane is in a calm part of Venice, easily accessible to visitors (a seven-minute walk from Piazzale Roma).

Visit the official Web sit l sito ufficiale del Palazzetto Bru Zane http://www.bru-zane.com

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