Palazzo Querini Stampalia
Museo della Fondazione Querini Stampalia
Chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa
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Lonely Planet review
In 1869 Conte Giovanni Querini Stampalia made a gift of his ancestral palazzo to the city on the forward-thinking condition that its 700-year-old library operate late-night openings. Downstairs savvy drinkers take their aperitivi with a twist of high modernism in the Carlo Scarpa–designed garden , while the palazzo ’s temporary contemporary shows add an element of the unexpected to the silk-draped salons upstairs.
Enter through the Botta-designed QShop to get a free pass to the cafe and its garden. You can also buy tickets for the Museo della Fondazione Querini Stampalia here. Located in the duke's apartments, the museum reflects the 18th-century tastes and interests of the count: beneath the stuccoed ceilings you'll find rich furnishings and tapestries, Meissen and Sèvres porcelain, marble busts and some 400 paintings. Of these, many are dynastic portraits and conversation pieces, such as Alessandro and Pietro Longhi's genre scenes of masked balls, gambling dens and 18th-century bon vivants .
The clear standout in the collection is Giovanni Bellini's arresting Presentation of Jesus at the Temple , where the hapless child looks like a toddler mummy, standing up in tightly wrapped swaddling clothes. Other engaging pieces are the 39 winningly naïve Scenes of Public Life in Venice by Gabriele Bella (1730–99), which document scenes of the city and its customs during the period. Although rather crude in their realisation, the subject matter – a football game in Sant'Alvise, the frozen lagoon in 1708, the courtesans race on the Rio de la Sensa – is fascinating.
In summer the palazzo hosts chamber-music concerts on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost €3.