Once known as the “Republic of Music”, Venice’s reputation for wealth and decadence has fostered some of the world’s greatest composers and musicians, including Antonio Vivaldi, Richard Wagner and Igor Stravinsky.
Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto
The Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, which is situated right on the Grand Canal, is one of the city’s most spectacular palaces.
The building is composed of two structures that were joined in the 17th century: the 15th-century Gothic Palazzo Minotto and the 17th-century Palazzo Barbarigo.
Regular opera performances take place within the palace’s sumptuous interior, which houses original Baroque furnishings, frescoes and stuccoes.
As each act in a performance unfolds, the audience moves from one hall to the next, resulting in a truly unique and interactive experience.
Chiesa di San Vidal
This deconsecrated church, which is not far from the Ponte dell’Accademia is now a concert hall for Interpreti Veneziani, a chamber ensemble specialising in Baroque and classical performances.
Constructed in 1084 by Doge Vitale Falier, the church was subsequently rebuilt in the 17th century.
Its Palladian-style façade dates from 1734–7, and was sponsored by Doge Carlo Contarini, the 100th doge of the Republic of Venice whose bust appears on the building’s exterior.
Inside, the majestic Baroque decor and excellent acoustics make the ideal setting for performances of pieces by Vivaldi, Handel, Bach and other notable composers.
Originally part of a convent that doubled as a foundling home for orphans in the 15th to 17th centuries.
It proved so popular that a warning plaque was hung, threatening malediction to all parents who tried to pass off their children as orphans – the plaque can still be seen on the side wall today.
In the 18th century, the church became celebrated for a different reason: Vivaldi directed music groups here between 1703 and 1740 and wrote much of his sacred vocal and instrumental music for concerts at La Pietà.
The actual building Vivaldi worked in was rebuilt in 1745–60, but the oval design of the present church, and the wonderful ceiling fresco by Giambattista Tiepolo, Triumph of Fair (1755), still perfectly complement performances of the great composer’s work.
Concerts take place here most weekends.