Located on the Dorso Duro side of the Grand Canal, the Palazzo Venier de Leoni took its name from the Veniers family who began its construction in 1748. Originally, it had been intended as a grand counterpart to the opulent Sansorino Palace across the canal, but construction was abandoned at the first story, which had been designed as a long ballroom, when Napoleon invaded Italy in 1797.
In 1910, the Veniers family sold the palazzo to the eccentric and beautiful muse of the arts, the Marquesa Luisa Casati. The impressive entrance of the building, with its enormous stone lion heads, and its large overgrown garden with white peacocks and albino blackbirds, was the ideal setting for her lavish balls. Following her departure in 1938, it was owned by the Vicountess Castlerosse. Peggy Guggenheim purchased the house in 1948. It became her residence as well as that of the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, from which she exhibited her personal collection and promoted the work of avant-garde Italian artists.