Inaugurated in December 2008 after a restoration process lasting 27 years, this magnificent palazzo is the most significant new museum to open in Venice for many years. The original nucleus of the palace was built by Antonio Grimani, doge of Venice, in the 1520s. However, it is most closely associated with his nephew Giovanni Grimani, cardinal and collector of antiquities. He enlarged and extended the palace, imposing a style of Roman classicism that is especially noticeable in the courtyard, and calling artists from central Italy, including Francesco Salviati and Federico Zuccari, to decorate it. The palazzo was conceived as a grand showcase for his fine collection of antiquities. Its fame was such that it was one of the buildings that Henry III of France insisted on seeing during his visit to Venice in 1574. Film buffs may remember the palace as the setting for the final gory scenes of Nicholas Roeg's film, Don't Look Now.
A grand staircase, modelled on the Scala d'Oro of the Doge's palace, leads up to the piano nobile. Highlights of the tour are the Michelangelo-esque Sala della Tribuna, with its multicoloured marbles, where the most important pieces of statuary were once exhibited (a Ganymede being borne off by Jupiter hangs from the ceiling as an example), and the Sala ai Fogliami, the ceiling of which is decorated with foliage and birds painted with scrupulous naturalistic accuracy.
More information about tickets and passes in Venice.