The history of the building
This building, one of the most impressive facades of the Cannaregio Canal, was built in the seventeenth century by the Surian family, of Armenian origin, admitted to the nobility in 1648. The design is attributed to the architect Giuseppe Sardi, as the project of the nearby Palace Savorgnan. At the end of the same century, it was partially ceded to Bellotto family, originally from Brescia, that then they have never entirely owned. In the eighteenth century, it became the French Embassy Venetian venue: was the period in which the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was secretary to the Montaigu. Also in the second half of that century, three resident British ministers transformed the building into a sort of provisional but exceptional museum of Venetian painting, though destined to dispersion in British collections and more. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, in the nineteenth century, the palace began a long period of decline, during which the sumptuous interiors were irretrievably lost, their original structure and decorations. It is currently a private residence.
The right side was initially deeper and behind the palace was a large garden. The best preserved and most important part of Palazzo Surian Bellotto is the great Baroque façade, which, with its high four-story towers above the neighboring buildings. The facade is asymmetrical, having the central axis moved to the left: it is here that we find the most valuable openings: on the ground floor two tilts portals with mask, inserted in a band with bosses; correlate with each step, the noble floors, two pairs of serliane, that of the second partially walled floor being the second main floor divided horizontally. Other openings are large mullioned windows with stone frames recalling the reasons for serliane. All openings of the main floors are equipped with balustrades and masks. The fourth floor has a strip of rectangular windows smaller. The façade levels are marked by elaborate cornices, while the top is covered by a serrated cornice.