Venice is a unique city, the architectural richness of its history hiding art and culture in all corners: the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is one stunning example of this.
What is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi?
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is located near the Grand Canal, close to the Rialto Bridge, and its name derives from the need to differentiate it from the Fondaco dei Greci and the Fondaco dei Mori.
During the period of La Serenissima, when Venice was the capital of the maritime republic, a certain distance was established in these spaces to avoid frequent contact between the many foreign ethnic groups that populated the commercial city of Venice.
The word “fondaco” comes from the Arabic language and means “hotel-warehouse“, the place where merchants who arrived in Venice would stay and trade.
The structure had a ground floor used for storage, and the upper floors were furnished as lodgings; there were about two hundred rooms, and guests could eat and sleep. The word “tedeschi” (“Germans”) indicated the population from the northern part of Europe and also from Germany.
Construction and enhancement of the Fondaco
In 1505, it was completely destroyed by fire and was later rebuilt by Doge Loredan. In 1937, it was restored again and used as the Post Office building until a few years ago.
Today, thanks to an accurate restoration project by Rem Koolhaas and commissioned by Edizioni Holding of the Benetton family, the Traveler group (a chain of super-luxury shopping centres designed by Dfs Duty Free), it has become a luxury hub where the best-known international fashion brands, the most prestigious brands of haute horlogerie, and exquisite local craftsmanship are concentrated.
The structure, which has retained the 16th-century layout of the Fondaco, consists of three floors opening onto the inner courtyard, while the 65 boutiques take up space along imposing arcades.
Inside the building are allegorical frescoes extolling the autonomy and power of the Republic and attributed to the famous artists Giorgione and Titian.
The panoramic terrace of Fondaco dei Tedeschi
A visit to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi would not be complete without the breathtaking experience of the panoramic terrace: accessible free of charge with hourly reservations, this terrace has quickly become the most photographed viewpoint in the city. And rightly so, because it offers a truly unique 360-degree perspective on the lagoon city.
In short, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi is one of the points of interest you absolutely must add to your itinerary in Venice. Whether it is an excursion outside the city or a holiday lasting several days, it is important to remember that in Venice you travel on foot or by vaporetto (public waterbus), gondola or taxi, so you will have to leave your car outside the city.
That’s why to reach the capital of the Veneto region, it is worth considering the train as a means of transport, or the bus. The latter option is the most convenient because it comfortably connects the two nearest airports of Treviso and Venice, as well as the main seaside and mountain resorts in eastern Veneto.