|The façade of Palazzo Pisani|
The palace, enourmous and full of corridors and stairs (when I was a student at the Conservatorio, I used to get lost in those improbably huge rooms), is the seat of the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello and in its Concert Hall Venetians can listen to some very good music attending the Stagione dei Concerti organized by the Conservatory itself.
|Concert Hall - Palazzo Pisani|
Yet there is a bit more, behind this palazzo. The Pisani family, one of the most powerful in the Republic of Venice, had a Tuscan mercantile origin. The branch which built this big palazzo were known as Pisani dal Banco (of the Bank) since they ran one of the four great private banks in Venice (a bit like the Peruzzi, the Medici and the Salviati in Florence).
It was Alvise Pisani, in XVI century, to start the construction of the palace.
As you can see even today, it was certainly a pharaonic effort - no other palaces in Venice can stand its grandiosity apart, perhaps, from Palazzo Grimani (now the Corte d'Appello) and Ca' Corner (now the Prefettura).
And, nonetheless, the Pisani were not completely happy with it.
Vanity is the answer, my friends!
In order to be taken seriously, in old Venetian society (and possibly nowadays as well - Venice is such a pond for snobs!), you had to have a palace - that's for sure - but that palace had to be ON THE GRAND CANAL...
|The tiny Palazzetto Pisani|
From then on, nobody could possibly say that the Pisani were not ON the Grand Canal!
The lion rampant, part of the family coat-of-arms, is still visible on the ordinary façade of Palazzetto Pisani . . .
During WWII, the palace was home to the Duke of Genoa, one of the King of Italy's next kins and then after the war it was occupied by British Officers.
In the last few years, by the by, Palazzo Pisani has lived a new life 'on the stage'. Do you remember that period when Sean Connery had left his career as official James Bond? We had Roger Moore, after that, and then another actor whom nobody remembers (poor guy) since they finally chose Pierce Brosnan in the 90s for another three films.
Well, in fact, one of those minor James Bond's films from the 70s is partly set in Palazzo Pisani. The one, if you happen to remember, where we saw the wheeled-gondola...oh dear, oh dear!
And of course, in the last years, Daniel Craig appeared. The last scenes in Casino Royale, you remember them? The ones set in the fake palazzo on the Grand Canal (which was, if you carefully observe, a superposition of a digital image over on the real Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana) take actually place in one of the courtyards of Palazzo Pisani!!!