After Sanmicheli's death in 1559, the architect Gian Giacomo de'Grigi was put in change. Under him, several modifications to Sanmicheli's design were made such as reducing the height of the upper two stories.
The site was trapezoidal and the front façade was oblique to its main axis. Although this shape limited the degree of symmetry that could be achieved on the interior, it did not prevent Sansovino from designing a totally symmetrical façade.
The palace's size and richness of the materials made it comparable to the finest palaces in Venice. In Venetia città nobilissima et singolare (1581), Jacopo Sansovino's son Francesco proclaimed the Palazzo Grimani to be one of the four finest palaces in Venice, the other three being Codussi's Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi and his father's Ca' Dolfin, and Palazzo Corner della Ca' Grande.
The column form varies according to its placement. Pilasters are used on the ground story and the outer corners of the upper stories, and engaged columns are used for the rest of the upper-story columns.
The façade is articulated as three stories by entablatures carried by giant-order columns and pilasters. Each of these giant stories is sub-divided into a main story and a mezzanine by a smaller system of the orders whose column form is the pilaster.
The combination of giant-order columns or pilasters with smaller pilasters whose entablatures seem to pass behind the larger columns was first used by Alberti at Sant' Andrea in Mantua.
Instead of superimposing different orders in an upward progression that became more decorative on each level, Sanmicheli used the Corinthian order, the most ornate of the orders, on all three stories.
Although the smaller pilasters are also of the Corinthian order, they differ from the giant-order columns in being unfluted.
The separation of the end bays from the center is emphasized by doubled columns and broader expanses of solid wall on each side of the outer windows.
One of the features that distinguishes the Palazzo Grimani from many Venetian palaces is the variation in shape and width of the upper-story openings.
The upper openings of the central and outer bays are arched, and those in between are rectangular. The use of arched openings contributes to the illusion of three large stories instead of six smaller ones.
By combining arched and rectangular openings, the central three bays on each of the levels cohere as separate units.
In having a centralized composition, the Palazzo Grimani's three-bay entrance portal differs from portals composed of three uniform bays such as that designed by Sansovino for the façade of the Palazzo Corner della Ca' Grande or those designed by Giulio Romano for the exterior and courtyard facings of the Palazzo del Tè in Mantua.
Like most Venetian palaces, the Palazzo Grimani is narrow and deep.
The vestibule consists of a central tunnel-vaulted passage that is flanked by aisles with flat-ceilings. This combination is also used for the vestibules of the Palazzo Farnese and the Palazzo del Tè.
In having a high center aisle flanked by lower side aisles, the vestibule corresponds to the entrance's large central arch flanked by smaller arches.
See visual summary by clicking the Views button below.