Palazzo Cini the new jewel in Venice


It’s no exaggeration to say that around every corner of Venice you can meet an unexpected pleasure, a beautiful little church, an impressively grand palazzo or one of the many breath-taking views. It is also an art lovers’ paradise. Not far from the Grand Canal and a short walk Galleria d’Accademia lies such a treasure. Palazzo Cini has in the last 12 months been further enhanced with a new group of art works from the original Cini collection. So it’s a place that may have escaped the visitors’ attention.  I’ve been to Venice many times in recent years but knew nothing of the Palazzo Cini. Hardly a surprise, as it only reopened to the public at the beginning of April 2016.

The palazzo is named after the wealthy industrialist Vittorio Cini who built up his positon to become one of the most important twentieth century collectors of early Renaissance art in Italy. His interests were best described as ‘omnivorous’. The far sighted generosity of the heirs dates back to the opening of the collection 7 years after Vittorio’s death in 1984.

The recently restored second floor of the fine palazzo is now home to 36 paintings, which were once displayed by Cini here in his adopted Venice. From Crivelli to Montagna, Titian to Lotto, and Canaletto to Guardi there is really something here for everyone to enjoy. Even accessing the rooms via the elegant oval staircase designed by Tomaso Buzzi is a treat itself.

My personal favourites reflected my tastes and the Renaissance Room was superb – perhaps the supreme Cini masterpiece is the Portrait of Two Friends by Pontorno. The works on show are a real roll call of beauty, Lippi’s Virgin and Child with Saints and a Donor, a magnificent Piero di Cosimo Virgin and Child with Two Angels. There is also a Judgement of Paris by Botticelli and workshop. A Piero della Francesca Madonna and Child is alone worth the modest entry fee.

The best thing would be to stop reading and add this to the list of things to see – the current arrangements will last until 15th November. Unlike many Italian institutions it has a fully functioning website with more than just a holding page in English. It’s a model for what some of the larger institutions could be delivering if only they made the effort. Visit

Enjoy just a small handful of the pictures posted below.

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