If you wander through the Santa Croce District of Venice you will see the Fondaco del Turchi. This structure obtains its name from its purpose. In 1621, the Venetian government rented it out to Turkish merchants. In this manner, Venice was able to keep their trade. Venice could also “protect” their Christian citizenry. The city ordered the windows of this former Ducal Palace nailed shut. They also erected a gated-wall around the building. From 1621 to 1858, you could not have freely entered the Fondaco del Turchi.
Prior to this, the 3 storied building had housed the Pesaro family. In 1381, the city purchased it and gave it to the Este family. They used it on-and-off for the next 300 years. It depended upon whether they were supporting Venice or the city’s enemies. The Turks occupied it long after the disbanding of the Republic under Napoleon in 1797. When they left, the structure began to fall apart. It was not until the mid-19th century a restoration was attempted. This preceded its use as the Museo Correr in 1890. When the Museum was moved, it was replaced by the Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia. If you have children, stay in a budget hotel close to the Fondaco del Turchi in Venice. You can then show them the Museum’s fossilized baby mammoth. You can enjoy the gracefully structured arcades.
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