Palazzo Magno

The first courtyard of the Palazzo Magno

Palazzo Magno is an early Gothic palace in Venice, in the Castello sestiere. It is from the late 1300s.

It is difficult to spot as it is situated in a very narrow alleyway, the Calle Magno.

The Magno family

Little is known about the Magno family. According to Tassini (1863) the family came to Venice from Oderzo, either in 598 CE or 905 CE.

They were in the Consiglio Maggiore from the start.

The Magno family allegedly had a role in the founding of the Church of San Vito in 912 CE.

A few family members have left some traces in the annals.

A Giovanni Magno became a bishop in 1306. A Stefano, born after 1499, wrote a Chronicle of Venice. A Michele, who died in 1720, fought the Turks and had various official position. His brother Stefano was a member of the Council of Forty on several occasions.

The male line of the Magno family ended in 1852.

The Building

The Palazzo Magno, or Palazzo Magno-Bembo, is a fairly typical early Gothic palace, with some traces of Byzantine architecture.

The footprint is very narrow. The façade is on the short side towards the Calle Magno, and the second courtyard on the Rio de le Gorne in the back.

Many early palaces in Venice have an L-shape around a courtyard. The Ca’ d’Oro is a well-known example.

The Palazzo Magno has a double L-shape, both around the front courtyard towards the calle, and around the back courtyard towards the canal behind the building.

As was normal, the courtyard has a centrally placed well, which was used to collect rainwater off the roofs.

Also typical of the Venetian Gothic, the staircase to the piano nobile is in the courtyard, not inside the building.

Photo gallery of the Palazzo Magno

The Palazzo Magno is now private flats, and it is not open for visits. However, one lucky day one of the residents let me into the courtyard where I could take a few photos.


Maretto, Paolo. La Casa veneziana nella storia della città: dalle origini all’Ottocento. Venezia: Marsilio, 1987.

Tassini, Giuseppe. Curiosità Veneziane ovvero Origini delle denominazioni stradali di Venezia. 1863.


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