The Palazzo Zen ai Gesuiti (also known simply as Palazzo Zen or Ca’ Zen) is a historic building in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The exterior wall used to be painted with paintings by the hand of Tintoretto and others. Pay close attention to the bas-reliefs under the roof.
Palazzo Zen ai Gesuiti Venice
Address, Opening Hours and Admission
The address of the Palazzo Zen ai Gesuiti is Fondamenta Santa Catarina, Cannaregio 4922, 4925 – Venice. Vaporetto: Ca d’Oro (line 1). Opening hours and entrance fee: The palace can only be seen from the outside.
History and description
The Palazzo Zen ai Gesuiti was designed and built by the nobleman Francesco Zen with the help of Sebastiano Serlio. Zen died a year after construction began in 1537 and the construction was completed by his family.
As can be seen from the façade on the Fondamenta Zen side, the building consists of three parts. The central part with two gates and balconies is slightly more prominent than the two lateral wings.
Before the palazzo was built there were four Gothic buildings on the site which is also demonstrated by the three small courtyards it has.
Little remains of the external frescoes (by Tintoretto and others) that used to adorn the western and eastern facades. Some of the internal decorations within the building, which is now divided into apartments, have been preserved.
Under the roof, a number of bas-reliefs can be seen, consisting partly of grotesque figures, but also partly of motifs (camels, palm trees) showing the Republic’s links with the Near East.