Palazzo Zeno , near the Frari church, was built in the late fourteenth century
by Carlo Zeno, “Capitano da mar”, a hero in the Chioggia’s war waged by Venezia
against Genova .
The fine gothic facade of the palazzo overlooking the canal of San Stin, has been preserved intact, and is surmounted by elegant obelisks dating from the seventeenth century. The Zen family can be traced back to its very early origins having played a part in Venetian history ever since the time of the Partecipazio-Badoer; furthermore it provided the Serenissima with a Doge ( Renier Zeno , 1253), as well as various ambassadors, senators and cardinals.
The Palazzo near the Frari underwent various alterations over the centuries the most important and far-reaching of which was the work of the architect Antonio Gasparri who was engaged by Alessandro Zeno who had been ambassador of the Serenissima at the court of the King Louis XV at Versailles. Alessandro, probably influenced by the splendors of the French court, decided to add a new wing to the antique palazzo, giving onto the courtyard. The interior decoration was renovated in a sumptuous manner. All the rooms of the palazzo, in fact, are frescoed or decorated with stuccoes by the greatest artists of the period such as Antonio Pellegrini, Jacopo Guarana, Abbondio Stazio and Amigoni.
Even at the end of eighteenth century, despite the end of the Venetian Republic (1797) and the severe economies crisis, the Zeno family began a project to redecorate some rooms of the new wing with ceilings frescoed by Giuseppe Borsato.
The Zeno family still lives in the Palazzo.