In cannaregio, you will find a special Palace, palazzo Lezze: The name comes from the onwer’s name , Giovanni da Lezze, whose family was from Lecce and they are involved in trades and shipbuilding. Giovanni was a soldier and then became an importat politician in Venice ( Procurator of S. Marco) and in 1611 he began to building the palace that afterwards was completed by the architect Baldassarre Longhena. This Architect had jewish origins and also he had a good knowledge of Cabala and was keen on with esoteric and alchemical studies. He designed the palace and also put some decorations with alchemical meaning. The Alchemy was a doctrine whose followers can find out an equilibrium between brain and heart, culture and moral qualities, penitence and humility and only following this doctrine a man could become a true philosopher. The alchemy foreseens one ‘spiritual’ aspect and a‘ laboratory’ one, that had to join together in the practice. Unfortunately, beside the popular authentic alchemists there were also many charlatans that threatened the reputation. The most popular magic used by the alchemists with laboratory skills, was the transformation of impure materials into gold and silver. The impostors used a hoax with their customers, in fact they used a wooden box with a hid botton where they put some pieces of gold, at the time of the so called "trasformation" they simply pulled out the gold hid in the box. In order to limit the hoaxes, in 1530 the authorities imposed the death penalty for each alchemist. Starting from that moment the spiritual alchemists had to hid theyselves and became to widespead a symbolic language that was understood only but the followers. Among the marble or stone inlays, the most visible and representative is placed in a corner behind the faced of this building.There is a king with a flaming crown with two man at his side and over them are placed two pellicans. On this figures there are the sun and the moon that in the alchemical language the sun represents the phisophical gold and the solar knowledge, the side figures under the sun and the moon are recpectively the Mercury and the salt, materials that transform, meanwhile the pellican is another alchemical picture. The philosopher and the alchemist ‘’Fulcanelli’ called this palace "the phisophical palace of Venice".
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My free walk in Venice tours:
Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour
Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour
Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks