From the 17th century, Ca Mocenigo was the residence of the San Stae branch of the Mocenigo family. The Mocenigo family is one of the oldest, greatest and most important of all Venetian families. They produced seven doges between 1414 and 1778. There were various branches of the family, one of which resided in this handsome 17th century mansion.
This large building was originally built in gothic style, but was extensively rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th century Several famous personalities of yesteryear, like Lord Byron, Thomas Moore, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, etc. stayed here as guests.
In 1945, Count Alvise Nicolò Mocenigo, the last descendant of the family, donated the palace to the city of Venice to be used "as a Gallery of Art, to supplement Museo Correr". He died in 1954, leaving the palace to the city authorities.
In 1985, the overall project of the Civic Museums designated Palazzo Mocenigo as the seat of the Museum and Study Centre of the History of Fabrics and Costumes. It contains rich collections of ancient textiles and costumes mostly from the Correr, Guggenheim and Cini collections and the suppressed Fortuny Centre of Palazzo Grassi.
Palazzo Mocenigo also contains a well-stocked library, dedicated to the history of fabrics, costumes and fashion. The library is situated in the rooms on the first-floor piano nobile that have not conserved their original furnishings. The stocks of fabrics and costumes are situated on the first mezzanine and on the top floor.
On the second mezzanine, an area has been set aside for didactic and experimental activities. The remainder of the building will be opened once the necessary restoration work is finished.
The remarkably well-preserved, 18th-century interior and decor offer visitors an almost unique opportunity to explore for themselves the inside of a classical patrician mansion.
The entrance façade is unremarkable, but the interior is elegantly furnished and gives you a rare opportunity of seeing inside a palazzo preserved more or less as it was in the 18th century. The frescoed ceilings and other works of art are celebrations of the family’s achievements. The illustrious Mocenigos are portrayed in a frieze around the portego on the first floor.
Ca’ Mocenigo also contains the Museo del Tessuto e del Costume, a collection of antique fabrics and exquisitely-made costumes.
The collection of this museum is laid out in the rooms of the first piano nobile (first floor) of the palazzo, with an ample selection of garments and accessories.
As much as possible, the pieces are laid out in such a way as to illustrate changing tastes in both fashion and furnishings, underlining analogies in color, line and decorative motif between these two related areas of design.
Mainly of Venetian origin, the garments and accessories are in “worked” fabrics which are often embellished with lace and embroidery. They are a fine illustration of the skill of those numerous artisans - weavers, tailors, lace makers, embroiderers, etc. - who made such a contribution to that refined luxury and elegance for which the Venetians of the day were famous.
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