Lonely Planet review for Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi
High Renaissance meets high risk at this 16th-century palace, which for centuries has served as the city’s casino. This might seem like an odd place to convalesce, but composer Richard Wagner was no stranger to drama, and chose to retreat here in 1882–83 to recover from an apparent bout of heart trouble and complete the 20-year effort on this Ring cycle. He succeeded, only to die of a heart attack here within a few months. You can wander into the ground-floor area during casino hours, but unless you’re staying in a high-end hotel that offers free passes, you’ll have to don formal attire and pay to see the gaming rooms. Three of the salons Wagner occupied have been set aside as the WagnerMuseum.The museum offers tours three times a week by prior reservation at least 24 hours in advance. The first room is dominated by a Bechstein piano and varied Wagneriana, including early editions of his Parsifal. The second room was Wagner’s study and lounge, and in a rather macabre touch, a copy of the sofa on which he had his fatal heart attack occupies one corner. There are also copies of scores Wagner created in the 1830s – since the originals are now worth some €700 a page, keeping them lying around here would be too much of a gamble, even for a casino. The third room was Wagner’s bedroom, where you can see letters and other documents, including a request from Wagner’s wife to the Hotel de l’Europe to deliver 12 demi-bouteilles (half-bottles) of Moet & Chandon to their gondolier – keep the Wagners in mind next time you tip for a song.