The Palazzo Santa Sofia, commonly known as the Ca' d'Oro or golden house, is a 15th century palazzo along the Grand Canal in Venice. You probably recognize it from myriad postcards or the backdrop to movies, I know I do!The building is known as the golden house because its exterior used to be decorated with gilt and polychrome but now is natural stone; Old habits die hard I suppose! Built for the Contarini family by sculptor/ architect Giovanni Bon and his son, Bartolomeo Bon, in gothic style, it was a more decorative version of the style prefered by the Venetians which the Bon's made famous throughout Venice.

One arrives off the Grand Canal to the boat launch behind a screened loggia.Which gives entry to the courtyard.The loggias surrounding the courtyard have gorgeous inlaid marble floors and byzantine capitals topping the columns.How many different types of marble can you count here?The loggias upstairs off the main compartments offer breathtaking views of the Grand Canal.Since 1922 the house has been owned by the state and operates as a museum.In the collection is this bronze winged lion. The winged lion is representative of St. Mark the Evangelist who is the patron saint of the city and stands as the symbol of the city. Photos courtesy of the Australian.