WELCOME TO T FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI T Fondaco dei Tedeschi’s doors are finally open. As we make our first foray into Europe, we are delighted to welcome you to one of Venice’s most prominent icons—restoring the historic building to its roots as a marketplace of the world’s finest discoveries.
The Fondaco’s breathtaking exterior has been fully restored by award-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, who has honored the icon’s design as it stands alongside other historical monuments like the Rialto Bridge. Step inside and experience a renewed interior by acclaimed architect Jamie Fobert who harks back to the building’s true glory as it once stood as a crossroads to the world.
Built in the 13th Century, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi emerged as one of the most important fixtures in Italy, linking the East and West in both culture and commerce. The scene at inception was magical: sun reflecting off the Grand Canal and pouring into the ground floor through the portico’s large archways; a swirl of languages echoing along the walls and bouncing up between each balcony floor of the atrium; teeming with travelers and locals alike, exchanging goods and good company. The space: a rialto of spices from the Islands, alloys from Germany, silks from the orient and cotton from Syria. Throughout the halls, a festival of colliding cultures ensuing—the atrium, vibrant with celebration and storytelling.
In the late 13th Century, the Most Serene Republic of Venice, or the Serenissima, took over the Fondaco, transforming it into an esteemed commercial and administration control center. The building was razed by a fire in 1505, but quickly reborn in 1508 with an even more arresting design from architect, Scarpagnino. With the façade on the Canal Grande frescoed by Giorgione and Titian and the interior clad with artworks by Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto, it became as much a museum as it had been a marketplace. Following reconstruction, the Fondaco became the epicenter of Venice’s economy. Imports of furs, wools and leathers from northern Europe met locally manufactured Murano glass, lace and velvet. The volume of transactions was so immense that Venice was soon deemed Europe’s capital of commerce.
It was converted into a customs house during Napoleon’s reign, and still upheld its role as warehouse of goods, trading post, and accommodation for it’s various merchants, packers, carriers and cooks. In the mid seventeenth century, the Ottoman expansion threatened the Serenissima and encroached on the glorious trade that once was. Venice experienced a downturn in commerce and the Fondaco closed thereafter. In 1870 it’s doors reopened and it functioned as the city’s post office until recent. Today, DFS steps into the landmark’s history as both tenant and steward, with a plan to preserve its legacy and restore its name.
We enter this space as a merchant, bringing luxury goods from around the globe together with the finest local Italian offerings. Breathing new life into historic Venice, we are delighted to deliver not only a new and refined marketplace, but also a space for Venetians and visitors alike to revel in the celebratory spirit of the city.
We invite you to visit T Fondaco dei Tedeschi and experience for yourself the wondrous history, lively entertainment and centuries old architecture, amidst a gallery of international and local discoveries.