VENETIAN VILLAS HISTORY

Towards the half of the 16th century many Venetian Patrician families decided to invest the great wealth accumulated in the trade with the Far East in the realisation and direct management of great agricultural estates.

At that time the families which were holding the economic and political power and were great scholars of philosophy and art lovers - the Corners, the Barbaros, the Badoers, the Emos, the Grimanis, the Foscaris - found in Andrea Palladio their ideal interpreter.  There was the Venetian Villa - an absolutely original inhabited and productive that had a great success because it answered at the same time to aesthetic and functional requirements. It had some morphologic and structural features of Imperial Roman derivation that Palladio was able to find on the ancient books and in the various travels to Rome he made with his teacher, the humanist Gian Giorgio Trissino.

Therefore if a Villa, event without previous, assumed the shapes of classical temple, we do not have however to forget that in the age of Humanism the temple did not have a religious meaning but the function to underline the cultural difference. The signs of Classicism reassumed an entire system of anthropological, ethical and aesthetic values, based on the knowledge inherited from the Greeks and the Romans and discovered by the humanists. And so, besides the central body destined to the owner, there were the typical barchesse, the stables, the pigeon coop, the farm-workers rooms. In three centuries hundreds of Villas were built up in the country of the Venetian inland and along the main rivers, but the new social and economic conception testified by the Venetian Villa spread everywhere, arriving also far away and even in the New World, in the great plantations of the south of the United States.

Today, covering the roads of the Venetian Region, it is often possible to see beautiful Villas of the unmistakable print. The most famous among these villas is surely Villa Barbaro, planned and built up by Palladio in 1560 in Maser (in the Treviso area) for the Marcantonio Brothers and Daniele Barbaro, members of the rich and cultured humanistic Venetian world of the age. It is worldwide famous for the wonderful decorations made by Paolo Veronese and in the Secret Garden you can find various Alessandro Vittoria’s sculptures. A few kilometres far from Maser, in Fanzolo (Vedelago), we can find another Palladio’s work, with a great park and decorated with Giovann Battista Zelotti’s frescoes. The Emo family is still living here and also this Villa is opened to the public.Interesting are also: Villa Corner in Piombino Dese, build with façade and a pronao with two orders. Villa Pisani in Bagnolo di Lonigo in the territory of Vicenza; Villa Badoer in Fratta Polesine; in the end Villa Sarego in Santa Sofia di Pedemonte, in the territory of Verona, is amazes us for the genius demonstrated by Palladio in finding always original solutions as the order of mannerist inspiration. Famous for is characteristics is also the Villa Almerico Capra called La Rotonda, work of Palladio’s maturity. All the Palladian Villas were realized in the third quarter of the 16th century.

The Villas spread in the whole Venetian inland along the rivers, because these were the most comfortable, surest and cheapest way of communication.The most famous among these is surely the Naviglio di Brenta which connects Venice with Padua, along which, between the 1500’s and 1700’s, were build a lot of Villas, so that we assist to the birth of the worldwide famous Riviera del Brenta. The first Villa you can see is another famous Palldio’s masterpiece: Villa Foscari called La Malcontenta.Then, along the River Brenta there are other beautiful Villas: in Mira we can find Villa Sceriman Widmann Rezzonico Foscari, built in the 18thcentury by Tirali and today property of the Province of Venice. In Mira you can also admire the 16thcentury Villa Alessandri. Near Stra, you can find the late baroque Villa Lazzara Pisani which has a horizontal singular development.The Riviera del Brenta culminates in Stra with the amazing Villa Pisani, that seems a royal palace.The Villa has 35 rooms, all of them decorated with plasterings and frescoes made by the most important artists of the time.

On the ceiling of the Sala da Ballo (Dancehall), that is locate in the central body of the Villa, you can admire the great fresco with “La Gloria della Famiglia Pisani”, the last Giovann Battista Tiepolo work. Today, along the Riviera del Brenta, there is, since 1960, an intense service of tourist navigation made by the Burchiello, thanks to the Padua’s Tourism Agency. The trips last a day with departures in alternate days from Padua or Venice and reservation is needed.

It was built in the first half of the 18thcentury by the Doge Alkies Pisani’s family. It was built on a Giacomo Frigimelica’s project/plan but finished by the architect Francesco Maria Preti from Castelfranco Veneto

 

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