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The hunted Palace of Venice

Dario

The hunted Palace of Venice
The mystery behind Palazzo Dario

Venice is a city of wonders. Its canals make it a romantic place everybody wishes to visit at least once in their lives. But beyond its gondolas and architecture, there is a cold and sordid side that this city hides from its visitors. Strange rituals and haunted places, macabre killings and ghostly appearances, are part of the Venice behind Carnivals masks, the “Venezia nera” or Black Venice. And part of that city is the famous Ca Dario Castle, a place of no return with an innocent sentence carved on its entrance, which is also a deadly anagram.

With many sobriquets like "the killing palace," "the house of no return," or "the haunted palace," Palazzo Dario, or the Ca' Dario Palace, is one of the most frightening places in Venice. Built in 1487, this magnificent piece of architecture was home of the Dario family, a household of Venetian merchants. From then on, until 1992, it kept wielding a deadly sword upon its owners, who died in the strangest circumstances.

Commissioned by Giovanni Dario as a dowry for his daughter Marietta, the Ca' Dario Palace started its deadly legend with her. Soon after Marietta married and moved to the palace, the family began to lose all its property, her father and husband were bankrupted and the family began to commit suicide, one after the other.

It is not certain whether the Dario family left the house or lost it, but in the 17th century, the Governor of Canada bought it and soon after died in strange circumstances. Then an Armenian merchant of precious stones, Arbit Abdoll, went bankrupt and died shortly after buying the building.

The tragedies continued. In the early 19th century, a British man called Rawdon Brown committed suicide inside the building along with his companion because of the scandal caused by their homosexual relationship. Henry De Reigner became seriously ill after acquiring the building; the Count Filipo Giordano was also killed inside the palace. Also, the manager of the Who, Christoph Lambert, died there of a heart attack.

But the legend did not stop in modern days. In 1964 the tenor Mario Del Monaco bought the house but the negotiations broke down when, while on his way to Venice to complete the purchase, he was the victim of a serious car accident. In the early 1980s, the building was purchased by a Venetian businessman, Fabrizio Ferrari, who moved in along with his sister Nicoletta; he also went bankrupt in a short time, while his sister died in a car accident. In the last years of the same decade, the building was bought by financier Raul Gardini, who, after a series of economic reverses, tragically committed suicide.

It is still uncertain if the house has something to do with all those tragedies, but all the Venetians believe it so and will never buy the property. Some say that the legend carved on its entrance --"Urbis Genio Joannes Darius," which means "Giovanni Dario to the genius of the city" -- plays a part in the house’s history, as the legend can be read as an anagram of the phrase "Sub ruina insidiosa genero," which means "I bring treacherous ruins to those who live under this roof."

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Dario

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