Palazzo Grimani was purchased by the State in 1981 and in 2001 a decree of the Ministry of the Cultural Heritage gave responsibility for its management to the Superintendency of State Museums in Venice.
With the reopening of the palazzo on December 20th 2008 the city of Venice gained an especially valuable addition to its museum circuit, internationally important for its architectural originality, the quality of its decoration and the history of its development.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Antonio Grimani gave his sons the family house at Santa Maria Formosa: later, on the advice of celebrated architrects such as Jacopo Sansovino, Sebastiano Serlio e Andrea Palladio, Antonio’s grandsons – Vettore, a Procurator of St. Mark’s and Giovanni, the Patriarch of Aquileia – substantially altered the building and gave it a classical stamp.
The palazzo housed Giovanni Grimani’s archaeological collection, one of the finest of the time, which was strikingly displayed on shelves, mantelpieces and plinths in settings such as the specially designed Tribuna and the courtyard.
The decoration of the rooms is of extraordinarily high quality, with outstanding stuccowork and frescoes reflecting the confidently unconventional taste of the Grimanis and executed by Mannerist artists such as Giovanni da Udine, Francesco Salviati, Camillo Mantovano, Francesco Menzocchi and Federico Zuccari.
All this makes Palazzo Grimani unique in Venetian history and architecture, a fascinating treasure house of cultural, artistic and historical riches and, now that its restoration has been completed, a museum of itself and of a few choice examples of the taste underlying the creation of the family collections in the 1500s.