The Foundation Querini Stampalia was founded in 1869 by the will of John Conte, the last descendant of the family of Venetian patrician Querini Stampalia. It is the only example where, of an ancient family, they preserved heritage, home, library, archives, collections of art, furniture and furnishings. The sixteenth century palace, located between Rialto and San Marco, houses a library, civic center and historical museum. The ground floor and garden were redesigned by Carlo Scarpa in the early 60s. Recently Mario Botta has designed the new access, bookshop and cafeteria. The Foundation organizes exhibitions, conferences, meetings, seminars and collaborations with organizations and companies, some of which are associated with the Circle Queriniano - The members of the Circle support actively the life of the Foundation by participating in the development and growth of its activities and its archival collections literature and art).
Giuseppe Mazzariol, Carlo Scarpa's friend and colleague at the Architectural Faculty of Venice,where Mazzariol lectured on architectural history, was Director of of the Querini-Stampalia Foundation in the early sixties. When the decision to restore this sixteenth-century Venetian palace was taken, Mazzariol asked Scarpa to remodel both the ground floor, unusable because of periodic flooding, and the courtyard. The building houses exhibition rooms and the foundation's library and had been disfigured by a nineteenth-century reconstruction. The plan was to draw up a thoughtful design for the restoration of the palace to its pristine state.
As elsewhere, Scarpa's architectural surgery was executed with great sensitivity towards the natural and cultural context. For him, the water was not a problem but an inspiration. Instead of denying entry to it, Scarpa allowed it to flow off more freely, and, by raising the floors in the rooms at risk, guaranteed their continued use. By choosing appropriate material, he reduced water problems to a minimum.