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Visit Venice

Dogana di Mare


The Dogana di Mare is at one end of the Dorsoduro Quarter, between the Canal Grande and the Canale della Giudecca, it juts out into St. Mark's Basin in a triangular shape. The spearhead shaped building is long and plain in appearance a little like a ship's bow. Once a Customs house and the point of entrance for 17th century sea merchants today it houses the Punta della Dogana Art Museum. The building was originally constructed between 1678 and 1682.

The façade sides of the triangular shaped building are punctuated by twenty monumental gates and the interior is divided into 9 halls. The most outstanding feature of the building's stucco exterior is the decoration on the top of the building's watch tower. Two figures representing Atlas hold a golden globe on their shoulders and on top of the globe stands an allegorical figure of "Fortune" designed by Benoni. The figure holds a helm shaped weathervane in its hand and rotates in the wind. On the very tip of Punta della Dogana stood a white statue of a young man 2.4 meters high holding a frog by its legs, the statue called "Boy with Frog" was created by Charles Ray. However due to protests against the statue it was replaced with a replica of the original lamp post which once stood here. The building underwent several face-lifts over the years with the final renovation in 1838 and more recently it was restored in 2009 by Tadao Ando. What is interesting about this building is that during the recent renovations much of the bare brick and many of the imperfections were left untouched so that we get a glimpse of the buildings original structure. However by enlarge the structure has been modernized. The museum housed within the former customs house exhibits contemporary art from the Pinault Collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

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