The renowned Osteria Enoteca Ca’ de Vèn, with its entrance at 24 Via Corrado Ricci, is housed in a fifteenth-century palace that once belonged to the Rasponi family, a stone’s throw from Dante Alighieri’s tomb.
Over the centuries, the house has been referred to as the ‘Domus magna’, ‘Torre del Capitano Cesare’ (Captain Caesar’s Tower), or ‘Palazzo della Corona’ (The Crown Palace). In the eighteenth century, between bequests and subsequent renovations, the Palace was transformed from a private residence into an inn, called La Corona, and then into the current restaurant.
The oldest information on this building dates back to a document dated 22 June 1397, from which we learn of the existence of “a house with a balcony, located in the guaita (guard house) di San Francesco, near the street leading to the Basilica of San Francesco”, which the Cimiliarch (Treasurer) of the church granted in use for 29 years to Ser Nerino Rasponi (father of Paolo, who married Orabile Balbi). Since then, we know that the contract was continually renewed to the various Rasponi heirs until the mid-1600s, when the family decided to move elsewhere and the building was rented out “for tavern use” to Domenico Melmolucci (or Melmoluzzi), for an annual fee of 40 scudi.
From 1803 onwards, the palazzo passed from one owner to another until 1847, the year in which the owner at the time, Giovanni Boni, asked the Municipal Ornamentation Commission for permission to make structural alterations, of which we find only trace in the documents: we know that he was asked to lower the upper part, i.e. the corner between the two streets, and to raise the lower part bordering on the adjacent house (now Casadio), thus giving the new façade the same height. We also know that the windows of the façade were brought up to the same level, the roof was redone with only two slopes, the two doors of the shops were enlarged, and an entrance door was opened and a window superimposed.
In 1876, it was purchased by the shipowner Giuseppe Bellenghi. The following year, the Drogheria Bellenghi was opened in the building, which was the most characteristic and best stocked shop in the city until 1975, when Ca’ de Vèn was opened as a wine shop for the wines of Romagna.
At the end of the twentieth century, important restoration and maintenance work was carried out: the re-roofing of the roof and terrace, the consolidation of the load-bearing walls and a thorough restoration of the wall paintings and ceilings of the Palazzo.
The wall decorations, made entirely in drywall and not in fresco, reflect the eclectic taste typical of the second half of the nineteenth century. These, together with the overall interior appearance of the rooms, date from the period 1850-1880.
The Ca’ de Vèn, while maintaining in its menu its origin as an inn with wine, piadina and cold cuts, has updated its cuisine by recovering old and new recipes, which have allowed the offer to evolve, while maintaining the attention for simple and genuine dishes.