Three Venetian families originally lived at this Gothic 16th-century Grand Canal palace, and they didn’t agree on decor. When Archduke Frederick of Austria snapped it up in the 19th century, he unified competing styles with a modern makeover. The Franchetti family lived here after independence and restored its Gothic fairy-tale look, including an art nouveau staircase dripping with dragons.

The palace was home to a private bank from 1922–99, when the Veneto Institute of Sciences, Letters and Arts moved in and began hosting arts expositions and academic conferences (see website). The Palazzo Franchetti Caffè in the garden cloisters has baroque-patterned window screens for a secluded espresso away from San Marco crowds.