The Fondaco dei Turchi is a historic building on Venice‘s Grand Canal. Before it became property of the city itself, it served as a department store for Turkish merchants. Today it is the seat of the Museo di Storia Naturale.
Fondaco dei Turchi Venice
AAddress, Opening Hours and Admission Price
The address of the Fondaco dei Turchi is Santa Croce 1730 – Fondaco dei Turchi (tel. +39 0412750206). Vaporetto: San Stae (line 1). Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00. Entrance fee: Free. (Phone number and opening hours are those of the Natural History Museum).
History and description
The Fondaco dei Turchi was commissioned by the noble Pesaro family in the 1st half of the 13th century. The building was sold to the Venetian Republic in 1381 and later gifted to the Marquis of Ferrara. At that time it must have been one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, as the Republic often had guests of the state staying there.
In 1482 and in 1509 (both years in which wars took place) it was confiscated and still later it was given to Pope Julius II.
It then passed into the hands of successively the D’Este, Aldobrandini and Priuli families. It was Antonio Priuli who in 1621, when he became Doge, gave it to a Turkish merchant family to use as a department store. Only at this point it came to be called Fondaco dei Turchi.
The Turks remained in possession of the building for a long time, until eventually, in 1860, it became the property of the city of Venice. A erstoration in the same year , which saw two towers added on the sides, was later overturned by order of the Senate.
Previously it used to be the seat of the Correr Museum, but this was moved to the Piazza San Marco. Since 1923 it has housed the Museum of Natural History.
Occasionally you will see the name of the building also written as Fontego dei Turchi. This is the local pronunciation and spelling.
Natural history museum Venice
The collection of the Natural History Museum begins with a seven-meter-long dinosaur skeleton, along with the enormous skull of the Sarchosuchus Imperator crocodile. Another highlight is the Egyptian collection. In the west tower, a 15th century Wunderkammer has been recreated, where miracles of nature can be seen. There is also a section showing the flora and fauna of the lagoon.