The facade format (a wide central section that is finished on each side with a small part) of the Fondaco dei Turchi was a model for all later palazzi.
We head west where we can walk along part of the Canal Grande. This is the location of the Venice municipal building consisting of two palazzi (or Ca), namely Loredan and Farsetti. We go back in time to the early days, the thirteenth century, when the stone palazzi were first constructed. These two palaces are the oldest in the city. The layouts are customary for Venice: deep, with in the middle a wide part that is flanked by two smaller sides. Something that’s based on the Fondaco dei Turchi. The style is cearly veneto-byzantine.
If you step on the scaffolding planks, you can see that the upper-most floors were built in later periods. This is the case for nearly all palazzi. Due to a lack of room, there were not many options to build a new building, as the price of ground was too high.
A common architectural feature is known as “stylistic layering” or “stylistic stratification.” It occurs when a building or structure is added to over time. Each addition being done in a different architectural style. The Ca’da Mosto and the Palazzo Priuli-Bon at San Stae are examples of this phenomenon. The ground and first floor of the Palazzo Farsetti are built in the 13th century in the Venetian-Byzantine style. In 1440 two floors were added in the Renaissance style. (Wikipedia)
“As Goethe put it:
“[…] houses sought the sky, being forced, like trees enclosed in a narrow compass, to seek in height what they were denied in breadth. Being niggards of every inch of ground, as having been from the very first compressed into a narrow compass, they allowed no more room for the streets than was just necessary to separate a row of houses from the one opposite, and to afford the citizens a narrow passage.” Goethe Italienische Reise 1786 – 1788
“Ca’ Loredan is a building whose oldest nucleus is in the Venetian-Byzantine style, being among the buildings on the Grand Canal that most preserve its traces despite the renovations. The ground floor has a central portico closed by five raised arches, supported by four Corinthian columns, above which, on the noble floor, there is a heptaphora (seven windows) in the same style. On the two sides of the portico, symmetrically, there are two round windows, which correspond to a three-light window on the main floor. This hole is closed by mostly circular Byzantine decorations. The second piano nobile, which, albeit at the rear, attempts to emulate the style of the first, is characterized by a large central multi-lancet window, echoed by lateral single-lancet windows. The building, whose right side is characterized by the presence of numerous single lancet windows and the earth portal, is distinguished by having four overpasses that connect it to Ca’ Farsetti.” Cited from Wikipedia.
If you look closely, you can make out the transition from the veneto-byzantine style to Gothicism at the first floor arches. Ruskin wrote a famous book about Venice in 1851: ‘The Stones of Venice’ (click here to read the Stones of Venice). He came up with the ‘orders’ of Venice. These orders strive to explain the transition from veneto-byzantine to gothic style. Ruskin’s theory is beautiful, but disregards historical facts.
He lists the six orders, namely the following:
The first order is the extended arch (byzantine n. 1).
The second order is an arch that has a point on the extrados, or outer edge, of the arch with the intrados, or inner edge, still rounded (n. 2).
The third order has both the extrados and intrados pointed. In addition, the curved line is not consistent but curves into another direction (n. 3).
The fourth order has a trefoil-like shape (n. 4).
The fifth order is similar, but has a straight moulding with the trefoil shape placed inside of the arch (n. 5).
The sixth order is the same as the fifth order, except with the addition of a decorative piece above the point of the arch, a kind of finial (n. 6)
This developmental scheme may be put together nicely, but actual development occurred much more erratically. Ruskin knew this. According to Ruskin, the fourth and fifth order are typical for ‘adult’ Gothicism.
We walk back south and cross the Ponte dell’Accademia. Via the Campo S. Barnaba we arrive at the Fondamente Rezzonico. This is where we find the entrance to the land side of the Ca’Rezzonico. The main entrance at the Canal Grande can only be reached by boat.