Like a Carnevale costume built for two, the stately exterior of this Baldassare Longhena–designed 1710 palazzo hides two intriguing museums: Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna and Museo d’Arte Orientale . While the former includes art showcased at the Venice Biennale, the latter holds treasures from Prince Enrico di Borbone's epic 1887–89 souvenir-shopping spree across Asia.
The Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna spans numerous art movements of the 19th- and 20th centuries, including the Macchiaioli, Expressionists and Surrealists. The 1961 De Lisi Bequest added Kandinskys and Morandis to the modernist mix of de Chiricos, Mirós and Moores, plus radical abstracts by postwar Venetian artists Giuseppe Santomaso and Emilio Vedova. Collection highlights include Telemaco Signorini's quietly unsettling The Room of the Disturbed at the Bonifacio in Florence (1865), Gustav Klimt’s 1909 Judith II (Salome) , Marc Chagall’s Rabbi of Vitebsk (1914–22), and Arturo Martini's anxiety-ridden bronze The Sprinter (1935).
Climb the creaky attic stairs of the Museo d’Arte Orientale past a phalanx of samurai warriors guarding a princely collection of Asian travel mementos. Prince Enrico di Borbone reached Japan when Edo art was discounted in favour of modern Meiji, and Edo-era netsukes, screens and a lacquerware palanquin are standouts in his collection of 30,000 objets d’art. Around three-quarters of the collection is Japanese, the remaining quarter including a small collection of 12th- to 15th-century Islamic ceramic and an intricately carved Chinese chess set from the 18th century.