Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia
Chiesa di San Marcuola
The right hand of John the Baptist was once housed in this church founded in the 9th century, but the church burned in the 14th century,...
Venice received a dazzling addition to its property portfolio in 1945 when Count Alvise Nicolò Mocenigo bequeathed his family's...
Chiesa di San Stae
English painter William Turner painted San Stae obsessively, capturing early-morning Grand Canal mists swirling around the angels...
Casinò Di Venezia
Fortunes have been won and lost inside this palatial casino since the 16th century. Slots open at 11am; to take on gaming tables, arrive...
Osteria La Zucca
With its menu of seasonal vegetarian creations and classic meat dishes, this cosy, woody restaurant consistently hits the mark. Herbs...
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Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia information
Never mind the doge: insatiable curiosity rules Venice, and inside the Museo di Storia Naturale (Museum of Natural History) it runs wild. The adventure begins upstairs with dinosaurs and prehistoric crocodiles, then dashes through evolution to Venice's great age of exploration, when adventurers like Marco Polo fetched peculiar specimens from distant lands.
Outstare the only complete ouransaurus skeleton found to date, a macabre menagerie of colonial trophies, as well as a 19th-century wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities) housing a pair of two-headed calves. Although the museum's grand finale downstairs is comparatively anti-climatic – a fish tank of Venetian coastal specimens bubbling for attention – it does offer you a close-up glimpse of the enormous dugout canoe moored at the water door.
Alongside the exit staircase you'll notice marble heraldic symbols of kissing doves and knotted-tail dogs, dating from the building's history as a ducal palace and international trading house. The dukes of Ferrara had the run of this 12th-century mansion until they were elbowed aside in 1621 to make room for Venice’s most important trading partner: Turkey.
Known as the Fondaco dei Turchi (Turkish Trading House), the building remained rented out to the Turks until 1858. Afterwards, a disastrous renovation indulged 19th-century architectural fancies, including odd crenellations that made the gracious Gothic building resemble a prison. Luckily, the renovation spared the courtyard and charming back garden, which is open during museum hours and ideal for picnics.