Though opinions vary regarding the etymology of the word, it is certain that the name appeared for the first time in some 1094 documents.
Several paintings show how the Gondola evolved from an ordinary boat to gradually become how is today. The current form was achieved in the 17th century. Initially Gondolas were steered by two men, each with an oar, successive variations attempted to make it easier to operate by a single oarsman. Noblemen and the upper middle class made it a symbol of their wealth, embellishing it with designs and marquetry, lining it with silk and satin. Even the tail coats of the gondoliers were refined in gold. A wooden cabin, the FELZE, provided shelter for the passengers, protecting them from the cold and maintaining their privacy. Equipped with side Windows and drapes, mirrors and a warming pan, the band adorned with inlay booth was covered with black cloth.
The ostentatiousness reached such an extreme that the Senate called for fines to be imposed on crafts too richly outfitted, an ordinance that proved to be useless. The color black was imposed on gondolas and gondoliers by an act.
The art gallery was opened in 1951 by Solomon R. Guggenheim and hosts the private collection of his wife Peggy, one of the most influent personalities in XX century art. The works of her collection are shown together with other paintings from private collections (in 2012 the musuem received more than 80 works from the Schuholf Collection) or from temporary exhibitions.
The museum is probably the most important in Italy regarding american and european art of the first half of the XX century. It hosts works by Picasso, de Chirico, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Miró, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Dalí e Pollock and by many others in the areas of Dadaism, Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism.
In the evocative garden is presented a rich selection of modern art sculptures.
Punta della Dogana separates the Grand Canal from the Giudecca Canal. For its strategic location it was the house of the Custom and of the Salt Warehouses.
In 2007 the city of Venice appointed Palazzo Grassi and the François Pinault Foundation with the task of transforming the building into a contemporary art centre. The project was assigned to Japanese architect Tadao Ando that created his masterpiece. A location created with a careful combination of modern and ancient elements, to enhance art in every single way.
The museum houses the works of the Pinault Foundation.
An event and a renovation that are contributing to make Venice one of the most important centers of contemporary art.
Palazzo Grassi, located in campo San Samuele and facing the Grand Canal, was the last palace built before the end of the Venetian Republic, in 1772.
In 2005 the Palace, that had been for years the location of important exhibitions on the great civilizations of the past, was taken over by François Pinault foundation, who begun a renovation project assigned to Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The result is a fascinating combination between Pinault collection and the historical location, that plays as a contrasting frame to the contemporary art works.
The palace houses frequent art exhibitions with a selection of works coming from all over the world.