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Title: A Summary History of the Palazzo Dandolo
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Summary History of the Palazzo Dandolo" ***







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In 1805 the second floor of the Palazzo Dandolo, situated in the
Calle delle Razze, and fronting on to the Riva degli Schiavoni, was
bought by a certain Dal Niel, sur-named Danieli, from a member of the
families of Michiel and Bernardo, into whose hands it had come, partly
by inheritance and partly by marriages. The new proprietor converted
it into an hotel, giving it his own name--_Hotel Danieli_.

Although the use to which this Palace, which once occupied so large
a place in the glories of the history of Venice, has been put during
the present century is very different from that for which it was built,
it has always been kept most worthily, first by Danieli, then by his
daughter Alfonsina, the wife of Vespasiano Muzzarelli, then by his
grand-daughter, Giuseppina Roux, and last by S.S. Genovesi and Campi;
so that it had the honour, which it still possesses, of being chosen
by Emperors, Kings, Princes, and Ambassadors, and by great men of all
countries whose artistic travels bring them to this incomparable city,
so justly called the «Pearl of the Adriatic».

To the honour of the proprietors, who have succeeded one another in this
hotel, be it said that although, from time to time, certain works have
been executed in this historic Palace, to adapt it to its new use as an
hotel, yet not only have the staircases, the saloons and the various
apartments been preserved just as they were, but the artistic beauties,
and the historical souvenirs, have been carefully respected; the
stuccoes and frescoes of the XVIth and XVIIth century have been spared;
and the portraits and heraldic shields of the Dandolos, the Bernardos,
and the Mocenigos can still be admired today in their original



It will surely be agreeable to the travellers who come to lodge in
this remarkable building to know its origin and its history. We propose
to give them a rapid sketch of both; and we believe it will not be
uninteresting to them to know that in the halls and chambers they
inhabit, some of the most important acts of the great Venetian Republic
have been discussed and decided upon; and that in this Palace besides
Doges and Senators, Kings and Ambassadors, Alfred de Musset (then a fair
and charming young man in delicate health) took up his abode, in 1833,
and Balzac, mme George Sand (who here wrote her novel _Leone
Leoni_), and Victor Feuillet, who, for his magnificent romance
«L'Honnêteté», drew his inspiration from Venetian subjects.

But to return to the ancient history of the Palace (now Hotel Royal
Danieli) it was built in 1400, by one of the Dandolo families, but
whether by that of the great Doge, Enrico Dandolo, is not quite certain.
In the _Chronicles of Malipiero_ which date from 1457 to 1500 we
find the following passage «Today, the 28th August 1498, have arrived
the Ambassadors of Florence, Rucellai and Vespucci; who are lodged in
the Palazzo Dandolo, in the Calle delle Razze». We should here remark
that the beautiful Gothic door, in the Calle delle Razze was originally
the principle entrance, and the one on the Riva degli Schiavoni has
only been opened in recent years for the convenience of travellers.

We find confirmation of what has been said as to the date of the Palace,
and as to the family who built it, in the _Diary of Sanudo_, in
which he tells us that «on the 7th April 1498 the Prince of Salerno came
to Venice. A most brilliant reception was given him, great _festas_
were held in his honour, and he, and his suite of forty-four persons
were lodged in the Dandolo Palace of the _Calle delle Razze_».

Sanudo tells us again that «in 1499, this magnificent abode was
prepared, by order of the Republic, to receive worthily the French

We could cite many other historical passages proving that this Palace
had belonged to the Dandolo family, but one more, and a very interesting
one, must suffice. In _Sanudo's Diary_ we read again «On the
evening of the 21 February 1531 the orator Cesareo, in the Palace
Dandolo, Calle delle Razze, on the quay, gave a very great feast, with
fireworks concerts, and illuminated boats, Spanish fashion, on the Canal
of St. Mark's, on the occasion of the elevation of the king of Hungary
and Boemia, to the dignity of a King of the Romans».

This historic Palace passed from the Dandolos to the Gritti family, in
1536, by a deed of sale; and it is not without interest to note that to
distinguish it from others of the same name, it is called in the deed,
«that Palazzo Dandolo in which generally abides the Ambassadors of


After the Dandolos and the Grittis, the Michiel, the Mocenigo and the
Bernardo families became its possessors by marriage, and they retained
it till the beginning of the present century, when, as we have said,
its second floor was sold, by the noble Dame Helen Michiel, widow of
Alvise Bernardo to Dal Niel. Dal Niel left it to his daughter Alfonsina
Muzzarelli, who was able, in 1840 to buy the first floor from the noble
Filippo Nani, the heir of the Mocenigos; and thus the whole building
passed to her daughter Giuseppina Roux, and forms the present Hotel
Royal Danieli.

The interior of this beautiful Palace we have already described its
architecture in Venetian Gothic, and Sansovino's hand is to be traced
in many of its details. It well deserves the reputation that it enjoys
of being one of the noblest hotels in the world--indeed its artistic
beauties, and its historic associations, can only be equalled by its
unique and romantic position. Mme Georges Sand, who lodged in the hotel
in May 1834, as she watched from her balcony the sun setting over the
enchanting scene spread out before her, writes in her Letters of a
Traveller--«The sun had set behind the Euganean hills, great purple
clouds hung in the sky over Venice. The tower of St Mark's, the domes
of Sta. Maria, and the forest of spires and minarets that rise from all
parts of Venice, were drawn in black outline against the burnished
horizon. The sky passed, by an admirable gradation, from cherry red to
enamelled blue; and the water, calm and limpid as a glass, gave back the
exact reflection of this immense iridescence. Nearer the town the lagoon
was like a vast mirror of bronze. Never had I seen Venice so lovely and
so fairy-like».

To the beauty of a panorama unequalled in the world, that is spread
before the windows of the hotel to its historic associations to the
purity and the grandeur of its architecture, to the Venetian
sumptuousness of its halls and chambers (including the green saloon of
the Doges) to the magnificence of its Atrium and staircase--preserved in
its original XVth cent. condition, must now be added the important works
of restoration and embellishment just completed by the present
proprietors who by the aid of clever architects, artists and decorators,
have studied the means of bringing into requisition all the modern
appliances, in the way of Steam and Electricity, to produce luxury and
comfort, without taking from this interesting Venetian monument its
original character, which carries the traveller back to the epoch of the
Dandolos, the Grittis, the Bernardos, the Michielis and the Mocenigos.

[Illustration: SCALA D'ORO]


(European Edition) of April 14th


We have pleasure in offering to the readers of the NEW YORK HERALD
a few details about this splendid hotel, which, because of its ancient
history, its modern additions, its internal arrangements, its
topografical position at Venice, is one of the most interesting hotels
in Italy.

We will begin by pointing out the frame is worthy of the picture. Among
all the cities of the world, incontestably the most beautiful and the
most unique is Venice--the «Queen of the Adriatic».

Venice for the traveler, for the artist, for the poet, is far more
interesting than Naples, and even than Rome. The shores of Naples,
however enchanting, the monuments of Rome, however incomparable, can be
pictured by the imagination even without visiting them, but Venice can
be comprehended and realized only by seeing it with the eyes and by
living its life, and the more this is done, the greater becomes the
admiration excited.

The enchanting mysteries of its canals and of its picturesque streets
and calles, the grandeur of its monuments and of its palaces, which rise
as by enchantment from the limpid water, the atmosphere of poetry and
art which surrounds it, are not to be described, or if described present
but a faint picture of the reality.

This, then, being the romantic frame, the picture as spread out before
the windows of the Palazzo Dandolo, now Royal Hotel Danieli, which
stands in the finest part of the Riva degli Schiavoni, is worthy of it,
making an unequalled panorama, which extends from the Piazzetta with the
Molo, the Columns, St. Mark's Church and the Doge's Palace away round to
the Public Gardens. The front, which is due south, faces the broad Basin
of St. Mark, dotted with gondolas and boats of all kinds, and the broad
lagoons, with their treasures and their mysteries. The red church of San
Giorgio Maggiore and the great dome of the Salute, reflect themselves
in the water to the right, backed, in the far distance, by the blue
volcanic hills of Padua: while to the left is Byron's island of San
Lazzaro, and the long low banks of the Lido that defend Venice from
the waves of the Adriatic.



But the palace itself, famous in the history of Venice, having been
built in 1400 by the great family of Dandolo (and which is now the
Royal Hotel Danieli), forms an integral part of the picture, for it is
one of the most magnificent palaces of Venice; and we shall presently
give our readers a historical sketch of it, which we trust will prove
interesting. Meanwhile we must mention that to this ancient and
sumptuous palace, with its Atrium and Loggia, with its grand ducal
staircase, its ample reception halls, its «golden stairs», its rooms
decorated with stucco and precious carvings, its Sansovino ceiling
beams, its wooden mosaic floors, and its bifurcated windows and ogival
balconies, which recall the history of Bianca Cappello, has been added
a second palace, equally large and imposing, but one built on purpose
for a hotel.

This second building is modern--modern in all its details, as we shall
see in due course.

The exterior of these two palaces, of which the architecture presents
a remarkable contrast, can be admired in the following engraving.

The building to the right of the spectator is the modern Palace, that on
the left the ancient Dandolo Palace--each splendid in its own style--and
the one in the distance is the famous Palace of the Doges.

To describe the interior of these two handsome edifices is very
difficult, but the accompanying engraving, which represents the
_Atrium_ of the Palazzo Dandolo, with its magnificent ducal
staircase, will give some idea of their beauty. Around this Atrium are
a number of fine halls and offices, with the water-gate opening on to
a side canal with a marble landing-stage for the gondolas. Near to the
water-gate is the _Railway Office_ (a convenience possessed by
no other hotel in Venice), where tickets can be taken and luggage be
registered without any trouble to the traveler. Next this is the
luggage office.

Opposite the land entrance is the _Porter's Lodge_, where one or
more porters are always to be found at the disposition of travelers. On
the left hand is a _Post Office_ with, for the greater security of
all correspondence, a Government letter-box; and close by, the _Bureau
of the Hotel_, with offices for the _cashier_, for _money changing_,
and for _Bank business_.

Opposite the grand stairs is a luxurious _Smoking Room_, its walls
hung with rich material, and furnished in Oriental comfort and style,
with an _American Bar_ leading out of it. Next it, are two spacious
_Reading and Writing Rooms_, containing the principal newspapers
and illustrated publications of the world.

[Illustration: READING ROOM]

On the right hand of the main door is a large _Public Drawing
Room,_ style of 1700, with handsome stucco-work, and gilt furniture
covered with rich stuffs, with the hangings and wall-coverings all _en
suite_. This room alone would repay a visit to the hotel. Some idea
can be formed of it from the following engravings, though, of course,
the full effect of its richness and color is lost. In the two palaces
there are a number of other such drawing-rooms, besides a concert hall,
ballroom, music room and billiard room, &c. There are also bath rooms
and douche baths on every floor. On the ground floor are the
_kitchens_, the _wine cellars_, the _ice cellars_, the apparatus
for _heating_ the whole buildings by steam, thus spreading a
uniform temperature throughout the two Palaces. Here is also the
machinery for the _lifts_, the centre for the distribution of the
_electric light_ and the boilers and _syphons_ for giving _hot water_
direct into all the apartments. All this deserves being examined from
the novelty of the systems employed and from the exquisite order and
tidiness which everywhere reigns.

We will not describe the _bedrooms_ and _sitting rooms_,
except to say that they have all been recently done up and richly
furnished with the utmost artistic taste and are all lit with
electricity. Many of the apartments have been preserved in the original
style, especially the _Saloon of the Doges_, No. 9, which with the
adjoining rooms, Nos. 10, 11 and 12, all of which overlook the Riva
degli Schiavoni and the magnificent panorama already described.

The _wines_ and _the table_ are a great speciality of the
Hotel Royal Danieli, all being of the very highest order, and its
_dining rooms_ and _restaurant_ arranged with small and separate tables,
have an unusual character all their own.

The _dining rooms_ are decorated in an entirely novel style and one
that is truly poetic. The great windows of ground glass are transformed
into eight lovely winter gardens of rare plants, which are reproduced in
the big mirrors which line the walls, and the electric light, which
hangs in delicate Venetian glass lily pendants round the ceiling,
produces a most charming and unusual effect.

The two great _restaurant_ halls are furnished in pure style of the
Empire, for all the stuffs and decorations are copied from the best
works that treat of that period, and are among the richest and choicest
of that famous epoch.

Thus, by a series of ingenious combinations these two palaces, so different
from each other in many ways, blend themselves in one harmonious and
artistic whole, and in them are united the greatest luxury with the utmost

[Illustration: SALON OF THE DOGES]

To give an idea of the whole we will imagine that a traveler is staying
in the apartment of the Doge--which recalls all the pomp and grandeur
of old Venice--to go to the breakfast-room and restaurant we will pass
through the great Sansovino ball-room, then through the Rose saloon, by
the side of which is the music-room (style Empire), and the gallery of
tapestry and majolica, and thus reaches the Empire decorated restaurants
which we have already described.

In the evening at dinner-time the traveler would, instead, descend by
successive steps, through a Renaissance vestibule, to the beautiful
winter garden dining-halls, which, especially when lit up by the soft
radiance of the electric lilies, makes a perfect fairy scene.

Round the ball-room on the first floor runs an uncovered _loggia_,
from whence one can look down into the court of honor, or Venetian
Atrium, in which of an evening characteristic concerts are frequently
given. From the first floor the great «scala d'oro» conducts one to the
second floor, where are the spacious concert-room and various handsome
suites of ancient and modern apartments.

To the honor of the proprietors who have succeeded one another, be it
said, that although from time to time certain works have been executed
in this historic palace to adapt it to its new use as a hotel, yet not
only have the staircases, the saloons and the various apartments been
preserved just as they were, but the artistic beauties and the historic
souvenirs have been carefully respected, the stuccoes and frescoes
of the sixteenth and seventeenth century have been spared, and the
portraits and heraldic shields of the Dandolos, the Bernardos and the
Mocenigos can still be admired to-day in their original positions.

Although the use to which this Palace, which once occupied so large a
place in the glories of the history of Venice, has been put during the
present century is very different from that which it was built, it has
always been kept most worthily, first by Danieli, then by his daughter
Alfonsina, the wife of Vespasiano Muzzarelli; then by his granddaughter,
Giuseppina Roux, and, last, by S.S. Genovesi and Campi, so that it had
the honor, which it still possesses, of being chosen by Emperors, Kings,
Princes and Ambassadors, and by great men of all countries whose
artistic travels bring them to this incomparable city, so justly called
the «Pearl of the Adriatic».

The delightful impression made on those who inhabit the Hotel Royal
Danieli has been expressed over and over again to their friends, and
they have often said to the proprietors that they have rather felt as if
visiting in the house of a friend, or in a princely mansion, than in an
hotel, even though in the greatest hotel in the world.

[Illustration: SANSOVINO HALL]

In this lovely palace the traveler feels _at home_. All is artistic
and poetical. No long passages, painted in imitation marble, cold and
draughty, and dreary! No long endless tables and big red velvet divans,
as in a cafe! No long rows of rooms in which the furniture is so much
alike that you cannot tell if you are in your own room or someone
else's! Here is nothing conventional, nothing that is to be seen
everywhere--whether among the mountains of Switzerland or on the
boulevards of Paris, and which makes the traveler's life monotonous
wherever he may be. Here, on the contrary, he finds himself in an
atmosphere of _home_, of comfort, and of suitability to his
position, however exalted that may be, and one in keeping with his
romantic surroundings.

This has been the aim of those who have directed the decorations of the
Hotel Royal Danieli, and they are happy in the thought that they have
succeeded to the satisfaction of the visitors.

_To sum up_. The Hotel Royal Danieli, now entirely restored and
embellished from ground to roof and decorated by the best Venetian
artists, arranged with all the most modern appliances for comfort,
can offer the following conveniences for travelers:--




Table d'hote at separate tables, &c., &c., and all conducted according
to the most modern systems of comfort and elegance.

Although the present proprietors, Messrs. Genovesi, Campi, Bozzi
& Co., have spent a veritable fortune this year in restorations and
embellishments, so as to render the Hotel Royal Danieli the most
comfortable, the most artistic and the most aristocratic hotel in
Europe, yet they have in nothing augmented the prices, but have retained
those moderate rates which have helped to render the Hotel Danieli so

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Nota bene--The ancient Palazzo Dandolo, now Hotel Royal Danieli, and all
its internal arrangements, deserves a special visit from travelers who
are sojourning in Venice, and the proprietors will be most happy to show
the palace to all interested in the sights of Venice, whether they are
resident in the hotel or not.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Summary History of the Palazzo Dandolo" ***

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