The secrets of Palazzo del Refugio


Palazzo del Refugio in Venezia was built in the 1750’s as an orphanage and school.
It was also damaged by the WWII bombings, as you can see on this Bing maps image:



The courtyard buildings were never reconstructed after the war, and it has been on my list for a long time to try to get in there and have a look.




A few times when I’ve passed by, the front door has been open, revealing this entrance and a colourful but very closed door out to the courtyard.



But this time, just passing on my way to the grocery store, I found both doors open. I was inside in a jiffy, not a second to lose, this was a golden opportunity!




I met a woman taking out her bicycle and we nodded and smiled. After a little while she came back and I thought that’s it, now she’s going to ask me to leave. I had my 15 second glimpse of the backyard.



But I was wrong. The nice lady just showed me how to lock up when I was done and then left me with a smile.
This is why I love the Livornesi. Their friendliness and generosity towards utter strangers is fantastic. They just trust you.
(Or is it that I look so completely safe and harmless?? Hm.)



Anyway, there I was, with as much time as I wanted, but sadly with only my small camera. Hence the so-and-so photos, but they’re ok for documenting.



Don’t let the ruins fool you. These buildings are fully inhabited, which the criss-crossing laundry is proof of.



Taking this shot made me quite dizzy!



This house must have been pretty elegant with its arched windows and the remains of a tympanum on top. Now it’s a stylish dovecote.






Doves with a view.



Old arches.



When I felt it was time to go, I carefully latched and locked the door as the lady had shown me, feeling very privileged to have seen the hidden secrets of this building that I love so much. I know there are sometimes guided tours in here, maybe once a year if that often. I was lucky!




2 comments on “The secrets of Palazzo del Refugio

  1. häpen says:

    Man blir ju mållös!
    Only in Italy?

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