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Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Now a department store and cultural centre

Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Next to the bustling Rialto bridge and Campo San Bartolomeo the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (or Fontego dei Tedeschi in Venetian) was the main trading centre, living quarters and warehouse of German-speaking merchants in Venice, similar to the Fondaco dei Turchi.

Originally built in 1228, the building caught fire and was rebuilt in the early years of 16th century by Scarpagnino on a square plan around a large courtyard with a medieval well. It became a major transit point for luxuries from the Orient destined over the Alps, goods which were unloaded under the portico (and were charged a commissino by the Serenissima); on top were living quarters for some 160 merchants. Three Venetian nobles called Visdomini oversaw operations.

They didn't stint on the decoration: Giorgione and Titian were commissioned to fresco the exterior in works that helped to make both artist famous (only a few fragments survive, now housed in the Ca' d'Oro), while Veronese, Titian and Tintoretto frescoed the interior, although again sadly little has survived.

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Other places

San Polo/Santa Croce

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Didier Descouens, Creative Commons License