The Ca' Grande (big palace) of Saint Samuel was probably built at the beginning of the 11th century by Soranzo family, which also built in that period, together with the Bold� family, the church of St. Samuel facing the Palace. In the 13th century a floor was added to the pre-existing bizantyne style' building, in accordance with to the custom at the time.
In the early days of the 15th century the Cappello family, one of the most energetic and industrious families of Venice, became owners of the Palace as a result of marriages with the Soranzos. As from the mid-16th century the Cappello enlarged the building and conferred to the facade on the Grand Canal its present shape.
Around the 1590 the Malipiero family became tenants of the Cappellos and Caterino Malipiero, within few years as from 1610, through the marriage with Elisabetta Cappello and further purchases, obtained ownership of the whole edifice. Evidence of the very many restorations done by him are the date 1622 and the initials K.M. -Caterino Malipiero- in an engraving placed over on the main door he built, giving access to the new large entrance of the Palace.
Around the year 1725, the Malipiero began new massive restoration works that gave the palace today's homogeneous aspect. In the first half of the 19th century, with the Venetian Republic in full decline and after four centuries of successions, the Palace of the
Soranzos, Cappellos and Malipieros suffered the same destiny as many other palaces of Venetian patrician families: passing from hand to hand as a result of many transfers.
These transfers accelerated the decline of the building until the Barnab� family purchased it. In 1951 the Barnab�s undertook a substantial restoration, returning the palace premises to a grand and serene eighteenth-century style.
Very little information could be collected as to the events that took place in the Palace. However, it appears that the Cappello family put the palace's storehouses to good use by developing the newly discovered printing and publishing activity there.
What we know is that between 1656 and 1676, as a result of the construction of two very popular and successful theatres, a licentious way of life spread all over St. Samuel parish, and soon infected the palace.
We also know that Giacomo Casanova, who was born on Calle della Commedia (later renamed Calle Malipiero), from 1740 frequented Palazzo Malipiero assiduously, as a confidant of Senator Alvise II "Gasparo" Malipiero.
Here he established relationships with some influential persons and with a great many ladies. But one day the Senator caught him with Teresa Imer, on whom the Senator himself had invested some illusions, and Casanova was expelled from the Palace and later from Venice.
Casanova left a lively portrait of Alvise II in his Memoires. The latter work is historically meaningful due to its portrait of the Venetian custom in the 18th century. In this bizarre and turbulent environment, the Malipiero suffered a passive decadent demise.
St. Samuel parish cultural life was revived only after 1950 when the Palazzo Grassi Cultural Center was established. Palazzo Malipiero also contributes to Venice's Cultural heritage revival by hosting the exhibition spaces of Studio d'Arte Barnab� Gallery and Il Tridente multimedia publishing house.