Just like Fondaco dei Turchi for the Turk merchants and the Venetian Ghetto for the Jewish community, Fondaco dei Tedeschi had, in part, the role of restricting the commercial activities of a foreign community, in this case, of the community of German traders. The venue was both a storage and a residential area, also having a commercial purpose.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi was built in the 13th century, more precisely, in 1228, in the vicinity of the Rialto Bridge, to a precisely defined functional purpose. This purpose, however, did not prevent the constructors to pay attention to the architectural merits of the building, such that, at present, Fondaco dei Tedeschi stands as a remarkable expression of the Renaissance style with visible Italian touches. Immediately after its construction, the venue was occupied by the community of German merchants (another pole, so to say, of the life of this community was the nearby Church of San Beneto), who remained in Venice until the Napoleonic occupation.

At present, Fondaco dei Tedeschi stands out by the massiveness of its structure. While nowadays it still calls forth the elegance of the former palace, it is a venue largely deprived of the artistic patrimony which used to populate it in the past. For instance, works of art by Giorgione, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Tintoretto were either removed and sheltered in view of safekeeping at sundry museums of Venice (such as the Academy Galleries) or simply damaged beyond repair by the slow but pernicious passage of time and urban environmental conditions (only parts of these masterpieces can still be spotted scattered on the building). Fondaco dei Tedeschi remains, however, a sight to be admired on the Grand Canal of Venice, which is of no little importance for this former grand palace in the lagoon.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi (Fontego dei Tedeschi)
San Marco, Venice, Italy
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