Ca’ Dario, beauty and a bad reputation
It’s extremely difficult to write about Ca’ Dario without mentioning the sinister fame that has contributed to its global fame as much as its beauty. The rumor is that anyone who comes to own the 15th-century building – designed in 1479 by Pietro Lombardo for Giovanni Dario, a rich merchant from Dalmatia – is destined to either die of a violent death or tragically go bankrupt.
Such a bad reputation led the people of Venice to jumble the Latin inscription on the building’s base, so that “Urbis genio Ioannes Darius” (Giovanni Dario in honor of the city’s engineer corps) turned into “Sub ruina insidiosa genero” (Underneath, I generate an insidious ruin – that is, whoever lives here will go broke).
Indeed, a number of tragedies have been recorded in the lives of the palace’s owners in history, starting with Dario’s daughter – who committed suicide – and her husband, who was murdered. As years went by, the terrible misfortunes of Ca’ Dario hit many well-known (and lesser-known) victims, who suffered terrible and sometimes fatal blows in their fight against the myth they were determined to dispel by buying the property. The list includes tenor Mario Del Monaco, the manager of “The Who” Kit Lambert, and financial expert Raul Gardini, to mention but a few.
Despite it all, Ca’ Dario stands over the Grand Canal, her profile slightly inclined – just as Monet saw and painted it, portraying it in various times of the day.
Indifferent to rumors, its beauty has reached us unscathed by human vicissitudes and tragedies.