Walking under the colonnades of the Procuratie Vecchie, you come to a small corner premises that, in 1957, Adriano Olivetti identified as the ideal building for a showcase that could transmit the company’s cultural values in a context where modernity and innovation could live together while respecting the time-honoured surroundings. This challenging commission was given to the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, who completely overhauled the dark, narrow, original unit with an open-plan design based on a brilliant, cutting-edge re-organisation of the spaces, in order to re-shape the volumes while making the most of the light and engaging in a dialogue with the decorative elements.
The resulting interior achieves a captivating equilibrium between functionality and style, with at its heart a light-filled space embellished by the Alberto Viani sculpture Nude in the Sun, which welcomes visitors into the showroom. But the true touch of genius is the extraordinary central staircase, seemingly suspended in the void – a bona fide masterpiece of lightness and dynamism. It is a rhythm that also marks out the spaces of the two long galleries on the upper floor, home to a number of small office spaces and to a part of the exhibition of vintage Olivetti typewriters and calculators. Scarpa's gift is also evident in the painstaking choice of materials: Aurisina marble, rosewood, African teak, metals and stone are all found alongside traditional Venetian stucco and mosaics revisited in a modern key. It is a design with great expressive and cultural impact that, after years of neglect, was given back to the city by Assicurazioni Generali, at the urging of FAI, which had flagged up the problem. Having restored the space, Generali entrusted its conservation and enhancement to FAI in 2011.
The Olivetti Showroom will be reopen to the public on Friday 22th May with the following opening hours:
Last entry: 30 minutes before closure
*In the event of the water level being more than 90 cm above the average sea level (acqua alta), the opening hours may be subject to change.
From Santa Lucia train station
*with the exception of specific events, when the additional event charge will apply.
During events the price may be subject to change
Guided tours for groups should be booked in advance (minimum of 8 people). For information and bookings: email@example.com
On the second and fourth Sunday of each month, we offer guided tours that begin at 12.30pm. These should be booked in advance and are available on a first-come-first-served basis (maximum 10 people).
Purchases from the bookshop make a tangible contribution to supporting the work of FAI.
Disabled visitors can access free-of-charge those FAI properties that are open to the public by showing their ANMIC (Associazione Nazionale Mutilati e Invalidi Civili) card.
Designed by Carlo Scarpa as a showroom for Olivetti typewriters, this unique, small space in St Mark’s Square is exquisitely elegant.
An ideal set for photo and film shoots, within a stunning architectural space, it is also suitable for small, private receptions.
By choosing a FAI property for your event, you are contributing to the conservation and protection of Italy’s heritage.
Olivetti Showroom firstname.lastname@example.org