Become a Grand Tourist of the XXI Century

Abbazia San Gregorio, Dorsoduro, 172 30123, Venezia
11th May 2019 - 24th Nov 2019
visits by appointment,
The centrepiece of this project is an exhibition at the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio which will open on 11 May, coinciding with the launch of the La Biennale di Venezia, and which will remain open by appointment until 24 November 2019. Presented in partnership with Chahan, the renowned interior designer, the exhibition will create the home of a 21st century traveller, incorporating master paintings with vintage and modern furniture and design.

The Abbazia di San Gregorio was originally built in the 9th century as a Benedictine Abbey. Located centrally on the Grand Canal, near Santa Maria della Salute, it was restored in the early 20th century and includes architectural and decorative features spanning more than 1,000 years. Set amidst its medieval architecture, and the expanse of rooms centered around an impressive courtyard, the installation aims to encapsulate the timeless spirit of the Grand Tourist and illustrate the lifestyle of a modern-day collector.

"Building a collection is a life-long journey. Behind each painting is a story, memories, a special connection between collector and object. Colnaghi is excited to celebrate this connection in 2019 with a series of events, publications and curated experiences relating to The Grand Tour and culminating in an exhibition which conjures up the home of a 21st century traveller in the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio in Venice (11 May to 24 November).

Throughout this project, we want to show that a collection is not just a pool of assets: its real value lies in its connection with the life of a collector and is built from memories, experiences, friendships and discoveries. Building a collection is a voyage of discovery and, as with every voyage, the traveller needs guides if he or she is to arrive at the right destination. The collector needs to have good people to do research, to create the right relationship with the experts and dealers to ensure that what is collected is something that he or she can feel proud of and enjoy, something that will live on into the future. The Grand Tour epitomizes this voyage of discovery because, in so many cases, it was the catalyst for the formation of the great collections. It was on the tour that the travellers cut their teeth as collectors and made the connections – with agents, dealers, scholars and artists – which were to be vital in their continuing journey.

As part of the project, we commissioned the Colnaghi Foundation to create a websitewhich explores the history of the Grand Tour in Venice through notable people, places and sights, and which includes itineraries drawn from the experiences of notable visitors over the last 300 years. These “Grand Tour diaries” bring together a selection of eye-witness accounts of visitors to Venice and will, we hope, inspire you to follow in the footsteps of these earlier travellers and – who knows – begin your own journey as collectors."

- Jorge Coll, CEO


Jusepe de Ribera (1591 Jativa - Naples 1652) Aesop
Giovanni Martinelli Death comes to the table of the miser, Montevarchi 1600 – Florence 1659
Hendrick Munniks (active in Utrecht, c. 1624-1643) Hercules Freeing Prometheus
Il Parmigianino Saturn and Philyra , Parma, 1503 – Casal Maggiore 1540