The eighteenth century, the period of Venice’s political senility, was also the period of its last grand flourish in the visual and decorative arts. The main showcase for the art of that era, the Museo del Settecento Veneziano spreads through most of the enormous Ca’ Rezzonico, which the city authorities bought in 1934 specifically as a home for the museum. Recently restored, it’s a spectacular building, furnished and decorated mostly with genuine eighteenth-century items and fabrics: where originals weren’t available, the eighteenth-century ambience has been preserved by using almost indistinguishable modern reproductions. The applied arts of the eighteenth century are not to everyone’s taste, but even if you find most of the museum’s contents frivolous or grotesque, the frescoes by the Tiepolo family and Pietro Longhi’s affectionate Venetian scenes should justify the entrance fee.

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