Museum & Meeting
The villa complex is in the farmland of Vedelago in the province of Treviso, in the hamlet of Fanzolo. It comprises the house and outbuildings and also the long optical spyglass and farming area to the north, the garden with the geometric flowerbeds and avenues with statues to the south and, beyond the entrance gate, the double row of farmhouses in the hamlet of Brolo. The villa still has its original confines, which extend to the Via Postumia, the ancient Roman road, and the layout of the fields still follows the centurion grid, underlined by a double row of cypress trees that create an optical spyglass in front and to the rear of the house.
The villa was built between 1557 and 1565, commissioned by the Venetian noble Lunardo Emo who called on Andrea Palladio to design a complex that represented the practical and simple farming life. It has a symmetrical style: the villa is raised on a base and is slightly jutting in the centre, with a façade similar to an ancient temple, with an arcade-pronaos defined by four Tuscany columns that hold up the trabeation and pediment decorated with the Emo coat of arms, by the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria. To the side there are two barchessas with eleven arches, which, with their horizontal lines, strongly define the flat surrounding countryside and terminate at the ends with two low pigeon towers. In place of the classic flight of steps the entrance ramp was designed for drying and threshing the wheat.
The interiors follow the façade layout. From the entrance loggia you pass through a narrow foyer to reach the large central hall, from which two rooms open off to the north and another two to the south, divided by the same number of passing rooms and the stairway to the top floor. The stereotype sober exteriors are contrasted by rich interior decorations by Giambattista Zelotti which give a scenographic stress to the walls with fake buildings containing figured scenes on pastoral backdrops, and the arts and virtues are exalted, inspired by mythological and allegorical themes of Roman and Christian traditions.
Over the last decades many illustrious people have stayed in the villa: English royals, Nobel prize winners, writers and directors. It has housed a theatrical representation, an international classic ballet training period, concerts and was part of the setting in two films: “Don Giovanni” by Joseph Losey and “The Ripley Game” by Liliana Cavani.