Museum of Natural History - Fontego dei Turchi

Sestiere Santa Croce, 1730. (Open Map)


Minerals, fossils, botanical and ethnographical collections related also the Paleo-Veneto. 
Built in the 13th century, the Fontego dei Turchi is one of the most interesting palaces on the Grand Canal. 
Purchased in 1381 by the Duke of Ferrara, it was used from 1641 as a warehouse by Turkish merchants trading in the lagoon. Gradually falling into a state of disrepair as commerce declined, it was restored to its former splendour thanks to the interest of the poet and art critic John Ruskin, at the beginning of the 19th century.
The renovated Museum has opened again on 10 March 2010 and the rooms open to the public have increased in number from the previous two up to eleven.
On the gound floor, as well as the ticket office and museum shop, tvisitors find in the long east and west wings on the one side a wide space for temporary exhibitions and on the other the cetacean gallery, or rather the exhibition of the skeletons of a large finback, a sperm whale and other small cetaceans on the ceiling. Also the Aquarium of the Tegnue with fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other organisms typical of the unusual rocky underwater zones off the Venetian coastline (known as the Tegnùe), and the game "sottAcqua", which is its educational component.
The second floor, used entirely as an exhibition space, houses the three main sections of the museum, considering natural history from three different viewpoints with a new and interesting museological approach, whilst still maintaining close links with the activity and scientific tradition of the museum and the city.