VILLA DI MASER
Built by Palladio
Just in Maser, one of the finest corners of the Treviso area, the Barbaro brothers desired to have a villa built as the symbol of their family and inspired to the ancient Rome. Palladio managed to satisfy their requirements with his personal style, creating a unique structure which is now the most famous and preserved of all his villas. If compared with the other Venetian villas, Villa Barbaro was neither erected in the middle of the lands to be cultivated nor on top of a hill but, on the contrary, on the slope of a hill, adapting perfectly to the sorroundings. Moreover, the villa looks like a typical Palladian country house but, in reality, it has always been used only as a dwelling place or for welcoming guests. Palladio was able to realize the Barbaro brothers’ desire of a classical villa by adding several elements cunningly: one of these was the nympheo in the little rear garden with a semi-elliptical pond in the middle. A circular grotto with the statue of a river god distributes water to the source behind and the latter, in its turn, gives water to fountains, fish-ponds, water games and irrigations of gardens and orchads. The river god is a typical element of the Roman garden and is quite unusual in Veneto. The whole complex is richly decorated with stuccoes and sculptures by Vittoria, except some details of inferior quality, probably works of Marcantonio Barbaro himself, an amateur sculptor. Another Roman element is the little temple facing the road, of circular plan, recalling the Pantheon. The exceptional Palladian building is adorned with paintings by Paolo Veronese on the noble floor: the subject seems to have been suggested by the Barbaro brothers directly, especially by Daniele, one of the most learned humanists of the time. He wanted his powerful family’s life to be represented in a happily way on the background of rural scenes, mythological and christian images. The frescoes in Maser were taken as a model by many artists. A fascinating Museum of ancient coaches is annexed to the villa on the back side.