A Place to Die for… or In 

Remember a great British group ‘The Who’ (of ‘Tommy’ and ‘My generation fame)? Kit Lambert, not John Entwhistle as urban legend has it, their producer and manager, owned the Palazzo in the early 1970s. He died shortly afterwards in London, falling from a staircase or possibly killed by his drug supplier. A coincidence? Read on…..

Palazzo Ca’Dario

Ca’Dario is a rather lovely Venetian palace on the Grand Canal with distinctive chimneys, a beautiful facade of marble and Istria stone and built in floral Venetian Gothic style. However the number of  owners, their friends, lovers or members of their families, who have died shortly after owning or being associated with this building, is truly astonishing. 

Giovanni Dario, a mega-rich merchant and distinguished diplomat bought and remodelled the palace at the end of 15th century. Within a very short time his daughter committed suicide following the murder of her husband. Their son was later murdered while doing business in Crete.

 The palace was later bought by an Armenian diamond merchant who died there in poverty (some say of hunger) after his business mysteriously went bankrupt in very strange circumstances.

 In 1837, an Englishman, Rawdon Brown, bought the palazzo for the princely sum of £480, a fortune in those days. His untimely death was again by suicide caused by rapid and mysterious financial ruin and possibly because of the scandal caused by his homosexual liaisons. 

The French poet Henry De Regnier, who wrote “L’altana ou la vie vénitienne” there, died an untimely death after taking ill shortly after his visit.

 The famous tenor Mario del Monaco bought the palace in the 1960’s but had a serious car crash on the way to sign the contracts and was crippled for life.

 The next instalment in this horrific, haunted tale: In the same decade, an American multimillionaire, Charles Briggs, bought the house to share with his gay lover who committed suicide a few months later.

 The next tragedy strangely also has a reoccurring homosexual link. In 1970 the palace’s owner, Count Filippo Giordano delle Lanze, was murdered by his lover, a Croatian seaman who was, in turn, later murdered in London 

A few years later Fabrizio Ferrari a Venetian financier bought the building. He too was bankrupt within no time and duly committed suicide (how many now?) and his sister, Nicoletta, promptly died in a suspicious road crash.

 Later the palazzo was bought by the financier Raul Gardini, who, after a series of economic problems and scandals, later committed suicide……..

 I’ve never thought of him as being clairvoyant but, when Woody Allen nearly bought the structure, he pulled out at the last moment: possibly very lucky for him.

 Palazzo Ca’Dario2

Inscribed on a part of the building, is a message in Latin: “genio urbis joannes dario” which means “Giovanni Dario is the genius of the city”.  However an anagram of the Latin phrase is “Sub ruina insidiosa genero”, meaning “I bring treacherous ruin to those who live under this roof”. A mostly true (but slightly embellished) historical legend!

Visit Venice at least once before you die but don’t buy the Ca’Dario or maybe the Ca’Dario will visit you.

 Have a look at some great tours to Venice and other Italian cities