Palazzo Dario - Atlas Obscura

Palazzo Dario

Those who own or stay at this 500-year-old, allegedly cursed house often meet terrible fates. 


This 500-year-old Venetian Gothic palace, also known as Ca’ Dario, has claimed a host of unlucky victims, including the rich and famous. It’s said that the people who owned the building or stayed there for more than 20 days died, committed murder, or became bankrupt. Even local fisherman don’t dare cast their ropes by the cursed palazzo, which has been dubbed “the house that kills.”

The house was built in 1479 for aristocrat Giovanni Dario. His daughter Marietta and her husband Vincenzo later inherited the house. Vincenzo was stabbed to death, and Marietta died by suicide in the Grand Canal not long after. Shortly after these tragedies, their son Vincenzo Jr. was killed in Crete by assassins.

The cursed house claimed another victim when British scientist Radon Brown became its owner. After having the house for only four years, he suffered financial difficulties and his romantic relationship with another man was discovered. The scandal affected him so much that in 1842 he died by suicide in the palace with his partner (some speculate that the deaths were a murder-suicide).

Charles Briggs, an American millionaire, met a similar end. After purchasing the palazzo, he was accused of being gay and fled to Mexico, where his lover died by suicide.

The property then remained empty for the first half of the 20th century. In 1964, the world-famous operatic tenor Mario del Monaco entered negotiations to buy the property. However, on his way to Venice to sign the contract, he was involved in a serious car accident that made him rethink his decision to buy the building.

Then, in the 1970s, the Count of Turin, Filippo Giordano delle Lanze, bought Palazzo Dario and was murdered by his lover Raul Blasich, who later died a violent death after fleeing to London. Kit Lambert, manager of The Who, bought the palace, but it’s said he used to stay in a hotel nearby to escape the many ghosts he claimed infested the house.

In the ‘80s, Venetian businessman Fabrizio Ferrari bought the house and moved there with his sister Nicoletta. He later lost all his assets and his sister died in a car crash. Later that same decade, the financier Raul Gardini bought the place, aiming to give it to his daughter. But after a series of economic setbacks and scandal, he died by suicide in 1993.

At the turn of the 21st century, Woody Allen considered buying Palazzo Dario, but changed his mind, allegedly after reading about all the strange and tragic deaths connected to the house. As recently as 2002, The Who’s original bass player John Entwistle suffered a heart attack a week after renting the palace.

Some locals believe the cause of the curse may be the fact that the building was constructed over an old Templar cemetery, which, due to a settling of the foundation, makes the structure visibly tilt to the right.

Know Before You Go

The house can be viewed from across the Grand Canal opposite boat stop S. Maria del Giglio. Alternatively, you can view the back of the building from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

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