The 15th Century Palazzo Where Naomi Campbell Will Rest Her Tempestuous Head


Well, okay, it’s actually her boyfriend, Vladislav Voronin, who’s buying it for her. And the Palazzo Contarini-Fasan is only thought to be the home of Shakespeare’s tragic heroine. But still!

According to Russian tabloid Trud, reports the Post, Campbell and Voronin are in talks to buy the stunning 15th Century palazzo on the Grand Canal, a home of the first duke of Jaffa known for its unusually elaborate tracery work. Some mosaic work inside is believed to date to settecento; also preserved are a fresco by Giandomenico Tiepolo depicting the “Apotheosis of Giorgio Contarini” and a painted wood ceiling. Known in Venice as the ‘Casa di Desdemona,’ its Shakespearean associations are — if not verified — well entrenched in local legend.

As to the veracity of the story, it’s hard to say. Shakespeare adapted his tale of the tragic Moorish general, his beautiful Venetian wife and malignant ensign from a 1565 story, “Un Capitano Moro” by Giovanni Battista Giraldi Cinthio. Since “Disdemona”, translates to “unfortunate” in Greek, this isn’t much of a clue to the character’s real identity. While Othello may in part have been based on a 1508 incident in which a Venetian general’s wife died under mysterious circumstances, the death took place in Cyprus, and as far as scholars know bore no connection to the House of Contarini whose crest decorates Campbell’s future abode. The Contarini family was an illustrious one, that gave birth to 8 Venetian doges. However, any connection to murder is hazy. What some scholars do believe is that Shakespeare drew on Gasparo Contarini’s The Commonwealth and Gouernment of Venice in his research, which may have started the association — while the palazzo’s romantic exterior could have suggested the rest.

In any case, it’s a rather morbid association: Desdemona, after all, becomes the focus of an irrational jealousy and is ultimately murdered. Not exactly the love nest I’d want from my boyfriend, but it takes all kinds — and unlike the hapless Venetian noblewoman, the embattled — but teflon-coated — Campbell seems capable of taking care of herself. (Besides, maybe Portia’s wasn’t available.)

Naomi Campbell’s Boyfriend To Buy Her ‘Desdemona’s House’
[NY Post]

Contarini-Fasan Palace
[Venice jc r]
House Of Contarini [Wikipedia]
Contarini Family [Britannica]
Othello [British Library]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin