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27. The Unfinished Palazzo

The story of three extraordinary women – Luisa Casati, Doris Castleross, Peggy Guggenheim – and the Venetian Palazzo that captivated them.

Il Palazzo non finito was once an abandoned feature on Venice’s Grand Canal, a grand project that had fallen into decay with changing family fortunes. In the 20th-century, however, three extraordinary women would reinvent the Palazzo in their image: The Marchesa Luisa Casati turned her new home into a belle époque fantasy, while she herself brought her own theatrical style to a city known for its spectacle. Then British socialite Doris Castleross made the Palazzo a location for glittering parties attended by film stars and royalty. Finally, and most famously, American heiress Peggy Guggenheim bought the Palazzo and made it a home for her unrivalled collection of modern art.

A fascinating biography, and an unexpected subject, but did it make for a good book club book? Kate’s book club weigh in and we’re joined by Thames & Hudson picture researcher Sally Nicholls to discuss it.

Book recommendations

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh


Why not Watch the trailer for the film Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.

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