The Ca’ d’Oro (“House of Gold”), one of the oldest palazzi on the Grand Canal, was built between 1428 and 1430 for the Contarini family. Its name comes from the fact that its decorations were once gilded and polychromed. Even in its pallid state, it is still one of the most beautiful palaces in Venice.
Like many palaces, it has been converted into an art gallery. I can’t say I was terribly impressed, although my opinion may be colored by the fact that the second story was closed, but they still charged full price for the tickets. Photography is not allowed in the gallery, but is permitted in the outside balconies and loggia, which are the most photogenic areas in any case. (If you want to see how a palazzo may have looked when it was being used as a private home, visit the Ca’ Rezzonico.)
The sunflare photo below was taken from the first-floor balcony of what would have been the principal salon. It leads to the gift shop.
Another view of the first-floor balcony:
The external facade of the Ca’ d’Oro is not easy to photograph because of a vaporetto stop beside the palace (I think I stood on one of its docks); the only clear shot was at a sharp angle.
If you want a good view of the Ca’ d’Oro, it’s better to go to the Rialto Mercato vaporetto stop on the other side of the Grand Canal. I took the next photo several days later and had a pleasant chat with a Scottish woman who was trying to sketch the palazzo.
Ground floor loggia leading to the water entrance:
Another view of the loggia, taken by wriggling my camera through the bars.
External view of inner courtyard leading to main entrance. This courtyard is brick, but the rest of the area has splendid colored marble mosaics. Looking at this photo, I suddenly realised why these old staircases are built on arches, rather than a solid wall. It allows another row of windows, admitting light to a lower storey.
Partial view of the mosaic floor and walls:
In the courtyard, looking up.