When floating down Venice's Grand Canal, there's one palace that will surely inspire you to do a double take: the Palazzo Santa Sofia. This 14th-century waterside mansion is more commonly known as Ca' d'Oro given that gilt details once adorned its Gothic-style exterior. Other palace features have changed over the years as well, including the inner courtyard stairway and balconies, which were infamously destroyed by a previous owner.
But the Palazzo Santa Sofia's most recent landlord, Baron Giorgio Franchetti, had different plans, bequeathing the palace to the Italian State, along with his collection of art, furniture, medals, tapestries and more, thus ensuring a better future for the palace and its treasures (save for the threat of rising waters). Meanwhile, visitors now have the fortune to explore its interior, a gallery packed with the baron's collection, and the opportunity to relish in the building's impressive canal views. Various exhibits run throughout the year for an additional entrance fee.
The palace can be hard to find if wandering Venice by foot, but is easily reachable via the waterbus given that it has its own stop (Ca' d'Oro). Note that museum entry is free the first Sunday of each month (though tickets for these Sundays cannot be booked in advance).