This Renaissance palazzo and its art collection were bequeathed to Venice by Giovanni Querini, a 19th-century scientist, man of letters and silk producer from one of the city's most ancient families. Querini specified in his will that a library should be created here that would open 'particularly in the evenings for the convenience of scholars,' and that the foundation should promote 'evening assemblies of scholars and scientists.' Today, the Querini Stampalia still exudes something of its founder's spirit: the first-floor library is a great place to study, and the Foundation organises concerts (5pm, 7pm Fri, Sat; included in the admission price).
The ground floor and gardens, redesigned in the 1960s by Carlo Scarpa, offer one of Venice's few successful examples of modern architecture. On the second floor, the gallery contains some important paintings, including Palma il Vecchio's portraits of Francesco and Paola Querini (for whom the palace was built in the 16th century), as well as a marvellous Presentation in the Temple by Giovanni Bellini, and a striking Judith and Holofernes by Vincenzo Catena. It also has a fascinating series of minor works, such as Gabriele Bella's 67 paintings of Venetian festivals, and a selection of Pietro Longhi's scenes of bourgeois life in 18th-century Venice. On the top floor is a gallery designed by Mario Botta, which hosts exhibitions of contemporary art.