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Subject: Richard Wagner Museum in Venice
From: Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alain Letort <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 23 May 2017 12:07:04 -0400

text/plain (58 lines)

Dear Listers,

Earlier this month in Venice, on numerous occasions I sailed by the Palazzo Vendramin-
Calergi on the Grand Canal in public “vaporetti,” the city-owned boats that replace buses 
in that aquatic city where motor traffic is impossible.  This gorgeous Renaissance palace 
(built 1480-1509) was home to Richard Wagner, his family (Cosima and four children — 
Daniela von Bülow and Isolde, Eva and Siegfried Wagner), and the household’s “servitù” 
(domestics) from 16 September 1882 until his death in the Palazzo on 13 February 1883.

After many changes of ownership, the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi was purchased by the 
Comune di Venezia in 1946 and has been home to the city-run Casinò di Venezia since 
1959.  The Palazzo boasts a private dock on the Grand Canal where well-heeled gamblers 
can arrive in their gondolas, private boats, or water taxis.

My guidebooks to Venice — all five of them — did mention that Richard Wagner died 
there, but *not one* of these guidebooks mentioned a detail that I found out only 
yesterday, namely that the Palazzo, in addition to the Casino, houses a Richard Wagner 
Museum.  According to Wikipedia, the Museum holds the Josef Lienhart Collection of rare 
documents, musical scores, signed letters, paintings, records and other heirlooms. The 
holdings allegedly constitute the largest private collection dedicated to Wagner outside of 

I am furious that *none* of my guidebooks, including the “DK Eyewitness Travel” guide to 
“Venice and the Veneto” (normally very good) and the Italian-language “Venezia e il suo 
territorio” of the Touring Club Italiano, saw fit to mention the existence of this Museum.  
It was only yesterday that I found out about it while looking up the Palazzo Vendramin-
Calergi on Wikipedia.

I guess this goes to show how low opera rates in the minds of the people who write these 

One reason, perhaps, why none of my guidebooks mentioned this museum is that it is 
open only on Saturday mornings “by appointment only.”  That does considerably restrict 
access to the Museum by most visitors, who are typically on a tight schedule.

Have any of the other Listers had the opportunity to visit this Museum?  Was it worth the 
effort?  Should I make a point of seeing it if I have the opportunity to visit Venice again ?

Thanks and all the best,


Alain Letort
Washington, D.C.
Des Ungeheuers Höhle 

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